After Wednesday’s practice concluded, and the rest of the Saints were back in the locker room showering and getting dressed, cornerback Keenan Lewis walked out to a side field and began putting in work on a blocking sled.
No, he wasn’t worried about tuning up his blocking technique. He was using the sled to practice his tackling form. The image said everything you need to know about the Saints’ mentality this week after missing at least a dozen tackles during Sunday’s overtime loss to the Falcons.
“That’s something I want to emphasize on,” Lewis said. “In practice sometimes you don’t get enough of it. Just wrapping up is something I’m trying to work on this week.”
Even though the team has moved on to preparing for this week’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, many members of the defense still have a bad taste in their mouth after letting last week’s game slip away.
The defense some time working on tackling during Wednesday’s practice, which is not entirely out of the ordinary, but coach Sean Payton said there is added emphasis on fundamentals this week.
Still, even though the defense believes they can clean up the mistakes and improve, it will take a clean performance before the players can move beyond the issue.
“I had a hard time sleeping this week because of the film we put out there,” safety Kenny Vaccaro said.
Luke McCown spent some time working on his punting mechanics at the end of Wednesday’s practice.
The backup quarterback has been tagged to serve as the emergency punter in the event that Thomas Morstead suffers an injury that knocks him out of action.
It’s not a position that is completely foreign to him. McCown punted in high school and would be comrotable doing so in a game, if needed.
McCown said he has enough leg to punt about 40-45 yards.
“Not bad for a quarterback,” McCown said. “Just the more you can do, I guess.”
Saints support still
The Cincinnati Bengals announced that all proceeds from sales for Devon Stills’ jersey will go to benefit Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and pediatric cancer care and research. So, the Saints stepped up and supported the cause by ordering 100 of his jerseys.
The defensive tackle tweeted his thanks to the team Wednesday afternoon.
“Only one word to describe everything,” he wrote. “AMAZING!!”
Still was released by the Bengals, but signed to the practice squad so that he would have health insurance to care for his daughter Leah, 4, who is battling cancer. He was moved to the active roster Wednesday.
Cornerback eenan Lewis and linebacker Curtis Lofton were new names on the Saints’ injury report Wednesday, the first day of preparations for a Week 2 game at Cleveland.
Lewis was limited in practice with a knee issue. Lofton was limited with a hurt shoulder.
Three players who missed Sunday’s season-opening loss at Atlanta this past Sunday again appeared on the Saints’ injury report. Wide receiver Kenny Stills (quad) was limited, and safety Marcus Ball (hamstring) as well as fullback Erik Lorig (ankle) were out.
Stills’ quad injury has been lingering since around late June. Ball has been out since after the second preseason game of 2014, and Lorig has been sidelined since he hurt his ankle in an intrasquad scrimmage in West Virginia on Aug. 2.
Stills, Lewis and Lofton were all participating in individual drills in a brief portion of practice open to the media. Lorig and Ball worked on a stationary bicycle and a rowing machine.
For Cleveland (0-1), running back Ben Tate has been ruled out of Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Star tight end Jordan Cameron (shoulder) and former LSU pass rusher Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) were among four players who did not practice Wednesday.
The other two Browns who did not practice were defensive lineman John Hughes (hamstring) and tight end Joe Thomas (not injury-related). Defensive lineman Desmond Bryant (wrist) and offensive lineman Paul McQuistan (ankle) were limited.