Saints Day 6 camp recap: Secondary showing big improvement; leader emerges in kicker battle _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Players move from one team drill to the next during the Saints' morning Training Camp practice Wednesday in White Sulphur Springs, WV.

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — Notes and observations from Wednesday’s practice:

The Spiller protocol: We didn’t see much creativity with C.J. Spiller during the first week of practices as the Saints worked to install their base packages. We finally started seeing more today. The running back split out, took some snaps from the slot, and ran a variety of routes out of the backfield. I expect to see his usage ramp up as the Saints get deeper into the playbook.

Moving up: Keenan Lewis exited practice before team drill due to unknown reasons. With him out, last year’s second-round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste worked with the first-team defense. It’s been a nice rise for the cornerback. After being inactive for most of last season, he’s pieced together some strong moments in camp and appears to be on the path to contributing.

Secondary shining: One thing that has stood out over the first few days of practice is how often the quarterbacks have been forced to go deep into their reads. We’ve seen a number of coverage sacks. Cam Jordan had two on Wednesday, coming 4.53 seconds and 5.02 seconds after the snap. If the secondary can give the line that kind of time during the season, then there should be plenty of opportunities for sacks.

Return game: We’ve also begun to see something closer resembling live work in the return game. For my money, I still like Jalen Saunders the best in that role. Marcus Murphy hasn’t looked bad, but Saunders appears to be a step ahead. He has better burst and moves well around his blocks. Spiller, Brandin Cooks, Josh Morgan and Khiry Robinson also continue to get reps.

Kicker battle: Dustin Hopkins has a clear edge. He hasn’t missed a kick all camp and again nailed all four of his attempts. Zach Hocker missed a kick from 32 yards. If this had to be called today. Hopkins would be the clear leader.

Grayson watch: The third-round pick has a lot to learn before he’s even ready to compete for the backup job. He shows glimmers of promise, but undoes it with poor mistakes. One of those moments came on the last play of practice when he sailed a pass into the arms of Vinnie Sunseri. He’s going to need some time to develop.

One-on-one results

Offensive line

Zach Strief: 1-0-1

Jahri Evans: 0-2

Max Unger: 0-1-1

Tim Lelito: 2-1

Bryce Harris: 1-1

Andrus Peat: 1-1-1

Sean Hickey: 1-2

Senio Kelemete: 1-2

Cyril Lemon: 1-2-1

Nick Becton: 1-2

Antonio Johnson: 1-0-1

Cole Manhart: 2-0

Mike Golic Jr.: 2-0

Defensive line

Cam Jordan: 1-0-1

Akiem Hicks: 2-2

John Jenkins: 1-0-1

Kevin Williams: 0-1

Bobby Richardson: 2-3

Kasim Edebali: 1-2

Parys Haralson: 1-1

Tyeler Davison: 1-1

Hau’oli Kikaha: 1-0

Lawrence Virgil: 2-0

Kaleb Eulls: 1-0-1

Makrus Pierce-Brewster: 1-0-1

Tavaris Barnes: 0-1

Ashaad Mabry: 0-2

Ronald Powell: 0-1-1

Brees passing

1. Complete to Khiry Robinson (screen)

2. Complete to Willie Snead (crossing route)

3. Complete to C.J. Spiller (screen out of slot)

Bootleg drill

4. Akiem Hicks sack

5. Complete to Seantavius Jones (crossing)

Regular offense

6. Complete to C.J. Spiller (screen; 2.28 seconds to throw)

7. Complete to Mark Ingram (screen; 5.97)

8. Complete to Josh Morgan (seam; 1.9)

9. Incomplete to Joe Morgan (go route; 2.6)

10. Incomplete to Spiller

11. Complete to unknown (slant; 2.12)

12. Cam Jordan sack (4.53)

13. Cam Jordan sack (5.02)

Griffin passing

Bootleg

1. Incomplete to Seantavius Jones (deep, lost track)

2. Complete to Orson Charles

3. Complete to Nick Toon (slant)

Regular offense

4. Complete to Seantavius Jones (2.5 seconds; Hau’oli Kikaha pressure)

5. Complete to Jalen Saunders (short pass; 2.28)

6. Complete to Kyle Prater (crossing pattern; 2.66)

7. Sacked by Parys Haralson (3.97)

8. Complete to Mark Ingram (screen; 2.44)

9. Complete to Khiry Robinson (screen;2.13)

McCown passing

Bootleg

1. Kaleb Eulls sack

2. Complete to Jack Tabb (seam)

Regular

3. Incomplete (broken play)

4. Complete to Lance Lewis (slant; 1.6 seconds)

5. Complete to R.J. Harris (seam; 1.69)

6. Complete to Khiry Robinson (seam; 2.09)

7. Tavaris Barnes sack (4.03)

8. Complete to Josh Morgan (out route; 1.84)

Grayson passing

Bootleg

1. Fumbled snap, sacked by Markus Pierce-Brewster

Regular

2. Complete to Jalen Saunders (slant; 1.69 seconds)

3. Intercepted by Vinnie Sunseri (2.63)

4. Sacked by Tavaris Barnes (3.15)

5. Complete to Kyle Prater (seam, thrown behind; 2.03)

6. Incomplete to Orson Charles (out route; 2.84)