Saints put a wrap on open practices



Heat, rain and planes apparently are all part of a normal day at Saints camp. Wednesday in the team’s final open practice of training camp the team once again began their workout in hot conditions. Early weather reports forecasted a possible heat index of 103 by 10 o’clock. Thankfully I guess for the players but not for reporters and fans attending, rain fell periodically throughout practice cooling off things.

A plane towing a banner that read Free Payton paid a visit to Saints camp on Wednesday morning.
  • Photo by Gus Kattengell
  • A plane towing a banner that read "Free Payton" paid a visit to Saints camp on Wednesday morning.

Practice was livened up when around 10:30 a plane towing a banner was spotted circling the practice facility in Metairie. The Banner in tow read “FREE PAYTON” and got a reaction from fans and players. Safety Roman Harper joked with fans that he was responsible for the air-born message.

Asked after practice if he noticed the plane and banner flying over assistant head coach Joe Vitt answered, “No, I didn’t notice it.”


Same group as yesterday add one, that being cornerback Marquis Johnson. Coach Vitt after practice said that he has a hurt knee but that he will participate in the team’s walkthrough tomorrow and play in the game against Jacksonville on Friday.

Late in practice defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley hurt his right ankle, slamming down his helmet, and saying something you probably shouldn’t say around kids. Bunkley however after a visit with team trainer Scottie Patton got back into practice after having his ankle taped. Bunkley has shown some toughness this week. Back on Monday he appeared to hurt a hamstring but fully practiced on Tuesday.


Saints linebacker Jonathan Casillas covers tight end Jimmy Graham Wednesday at practice

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas started in five of the 13 games he played in last season. Entering his fourth season with the Saints however there are still questions about where he fits on this team. Casillas is athletically gifted, but he has battled injuries since making his way onto the team as an undrafted rookie free agent back in 2009.

“That’s it. As everyone knows here, to play in this league you have to be dependable, but more than dependable you have to be durable. Your teammates and your organization have to be able to count on you for 16 games,” coach Vitt said following Wednesday’s practice. “ He’s worked hard in the weight room and he’s worked hard this offseason to get himself stronger and to work towards that durability factor, but the key with him is staying on the field.”

Linebackers Chris Chamberlain and David Hawthorne were brought in during the offseason and play the weak-side linebacker position, the position Casillas plays. Just how much playing time would Casillas get or even be assured of a roster spot were questions being asked openly amongst media.

Casillas however has had a solid preseason not to mention week. Last Thursday Casillas recorded seven tackles three of those solo ones. Tuesday Casillas’s one-handed interception of Drew Brees was selected by many media outlets at the play of the day. Wednesday Casillas once again picked off Drew Brees while playing coverage over the middle.
Wednesday was also the second day Casillas was seen playing in passing situations alongside Curtis Lofton. It seems the coaches are giving him the opportunity to show versatility and see if they can count on him this season.

Also getting noticed and not in a good way was running back Chris Ivory. Ivory had a solid run during team running drills. The problem is that the good play took place following a run in which he fumbled the ball. Ivory has had a case of “fumblitus” and with running back Travaris Cadet playing well securing the football might be a priority for him.

A pair of Saints rookies get taped to goal post following Wednesdays practice


It’s tough enough for rookies to adjust to life in the NFL. New playbooks, new surroundings, new teammates, new facilities, and not to mention trying to play well enough to earn a spot on the team to earn a pay check are enough to make one’s head spin.

Rookie duties at times include carrying the shoulder pads of veterans after practice, singing embarrassing or school fight songs when the rookie talent show takes place, making food runs for the locker room following practice, and other inventive ways vets have fun with the young players.

Wednesday it was time for the rookies to feel like rookies once again thanks to some good natured hazing following practice. The old taped to the goal post — cold shower bit.

Safety Johnny Thomas and LB Kadarron Anderson were taped to the goal post and then were “cooled-off” by teammates. Travaris Cadet a rookie himself freed the young guys following the dousing.


The Saints will go through a walkthrough tomorrow morning at the indoor facility. No more open practices are


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