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What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The heavy lifting of training camp practices for the New Orleans Saints is in the rearview mirror with Sunday's off day for the players. And looming preseason games, beginning with Friday's home game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, will soon ...

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Old 08-05-2013, 08:43 AM   #1
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The heavy lifting of training camp practices for the New Orleans Saints is in the rearview mirror with Sunday's off day for the players. And looming preseason games, beginning with Friday's home game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, will soon break up the monotony.

Don't get me wrong. There's still a ton of evaluation remaining for the Saints' staff and more fine-tuning for the players as they won't officially break camp for nearly two weeks.

Yet we're starting to see some players separating themselves in position battles and more are standing out in areas where the Saints need it most.
Here's what we've learned so far through camp:

1. Cornerback Keenan Lewis and safety Kenny Vaccaro should bolster the secondary
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Lewis, a New Orleans native, is the best pickup in free agency in the NFL. Whether it's individual matchups, 7-on-7 drills or the team portion of practice, the former Steelers cornerback has consistently broken up passes against Drew Brees and the best receivers the Saints have to offer.

It's a welcomed change from the Saints' secondary last season.
Versatility is the key factor for Vaccaro. He can play either safety spot and has seen more than his fair share of time covering the slot receiver or tight end Jimmy Graham.

The salty Vaccaro has made waves for maybe being too physical during camp (Joe Morgan stuck up for Vaccaro after a Vaccaro hit ended Morgan's Black and Gold prematurely Saturday). Ryan, who said he loves Vaccaro's unapologetic aggression and passion for football, compared his rookie safety to former Chargers and Patriots standout Rodney Harrison after Saturday's scrimmage.

Through more than one week of training camp, Lewis and Vaccaro have brought an invaluable boost to the secondary.

2. The outside zone scheme should bolster the running game
Saints coach Sean Payton has preached and preached about how there needs to be an emphasis on improving the running game. It's more than lip service as the Saints have resurrected the outside zone scheme that offensive line coach Bret Ingalls said disappeared the past couple of seasons.
Ingalls didn't go as far as saying guard Ben Grubbs fits this style of running game better than former Saints All-Pro Carl Nicks, who's with Tampa Bay. But Ingalls stressed how much Grubbs' athletic ability syncs perfectly when the offensive line moves laterally to create seams for the tailbacks.
The Saints worked on several of these outside runs during the scrimmage. It worked so well that Ryan pointedly said the defense needed to improve against the run when critiquing an otherwise impressive performance by his unit.

3. Charles Brown has the left tackle job locked up, barring injury
Yes, the Saints surrendered five sacks Saturday. But the improving Brown can't be blamed for those quarterback pressures. The only question, up to this point, about left tackle seems to be who will back up Brown.
Brown has grown tired of the constant questions of his injury-riddled past. The only way to quiet the injury chatter is to remain "available," as Payton put it. So far, Brown has been available and especially sharp during team portions of practice. His performance seems to have alleviated questions about who'll protect Brees' blind side.

Rookie Terron Armstead has already jumped ahead of Jason Smith on the depth chart, although Armstead struggled at times during Saturday's scrimmage in pass protection. But after the first portion of training camp, it seems like the left tackle spot will pan out like I anticipated: Brown will be the starter, and Armstead will be the backup.

4. Patrick Robinson's role will be a question mark
Lewis and Jabari Greer appear locks to be the starting cornerbacks. Lewis has been receiving the bulk of the publicity, considering he's the new face on his hometown team, but Greer has been no slouch -- potentially giving the Saints a formidable one-two punch at corner.

So where does that leave Robinson?

Payton said he thinks Robinson will return "sooner rather than later" from his surgically repaired knee injury, which really means there's no set timetable for Robinson to come off the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Robinson would be an unlikely candidate to shift inside to play the nickel corner spot, where safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Vaccaro have been getting snaps.

Where Robinson will play seems like a mystery.

What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis | NOLA.com

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Old 08-05-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

4. Patrick Robinson's role has been a question mark.
FIFY
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

Originally Posted by Seer1 View Post
4. Patrick Robinson's role has been a question mark.
FIFY
Here is what I learned.................P Rob isn't my favorite Saint. Well, what I mean is I think he still sucks. Another wasted first round draft pick.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:36 PM   #4
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

We do have a history of screwing up early round draft choices
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:55 PM   #5
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

I'm excited to see a solid CB to cover the other side of the field with Greer. We haven't had that. Porter was decent but fragile and apt to get burned. It's a big step toward a respectable D. I'm guardedly optimistic about our safeties too.
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Old 08-06-2013, 02:59 AM   #6
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

I hope Kenny Vaccaro really is comparable to rodney harrison.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:42 AM   #7
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
Here is what I learned.................P Rob isn't my favorite Saint. Well, what I mean is I think he still sucks. Another wasted first round draft pick.
I don't suppose that I could change your mind so hopefully Robinson will this season.
He played poorly in Spags' system last year and at the very least, he didn't play nearly as bad in the Saints previous season.
He certainly has the talent, I'll bet he plays pretty well this year in Ryan's System.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:58 PM   #8
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

I tried to stick up for him last year but after about three games I had to give it up. In 2011 I thought he showed a lot of potential.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:06 PM   #9
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Re: What we've learned during New Orleans Saints training camp: Larry Holder's analysis

Originally Posted by Boutte View Post
I thought he showed a lot of potential.
I feel ya Boutte, but think we've had quite enough of that...
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