WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — Notes and observations from Friday’s scrimmage:
Sloppy mistakes: The sound of Rob Ryan’s voice bellowing out new and creative phrases unfit for a PG-13 audience will linger in the minds of anyone who watched Friday’s scrimmage. And for good reason. The defense struggled to make substitutions and there were a handful of instances where the players on the field did not know which packages they were supposed to be a part of. Once things got sorted out, the defense rebounded and had a pretty solid day.
Dixon struggles: Brian Dixon is not going to make the team if he continues to commit infractions. After being flagged twice for pass interference on Thursday, he picked up another one Friday. Perhaps the biggest issue Friday was that R.J. Harris was able to fight through it and score a touchdown. That can’t happen.
Another scuffle: Another little fight broke out Friday. This time it was 5-foot-11 wide receiver Willie Snead locking horns with 6-foot-4 cornerback Brandon Browner. It was a very minor incident but you have to love the heart of Snead. He kept yapping at Browner after it broke up.
Breaux impresses: Delvin Breaux does something to impress the audience in nearly every practice. This time the thing that stood out most was his ability to help out in run support. It’s early, and a lot can change, but it looks like he’s going to be a player in this defense.
Conditioning an issue: Andrus Peat received a lot of reps with the first-team line at left tackle, which is a good thing. The bad news is that it’s clear his conditioning is still an issue. He was a good 10-15 yards behind his teammates when running at the end of practice. The offensive line was on the field for a long stretch there, so there’s an excuse, but it was hard to watch him try to finish.
Under wraps: We didn’t get to see much of wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who only returned punts, and running back C.J. Spiller, who was not present. Maybe coach Sean Payton wants to keep the duo under wraps.
Unheralded guys catching the eye: We’re more than a week into camp and the cream is starting to rise. As far as the unheralded guys go, pass rusher Markus Pierce-Brewster, linebacker Henry Coley and wide receivers R.J. Harris and Willie Snead IV are standing out the most to me. Snead is a consistent performer and seems to always do the right things. Harris has stood out in spurts, Pierce-Brewster is really fast off the edge and Coley has made a number of plays at linebacker.
Grayson shows something: I’ve been hard on rookie quarterback Garrett Grayson for making mistakes in practice. He’s still not clear of that, but he showed something on Friday. I really like how quickly he gets the ball out and he can make the throws he needs to make. His fade that was dropped by Lance Lewis in the end zone was one of the prettiest passes we’ve seen all camp. But he hurts himself with bad plays. He threw an interception to Vinnie Sunseri in the red zone that was returned fora touchdown. There was also another screen pass he missed because he threw it before he set his feet. He’ll fix those things in time and today showed there’s a lot there to work with.
No rust: Marques Colston hit the ground running. After being held out or limited early in camp, he participated in the scrimmage and looked good from the start. He had a nice play where he used his body to shield off a defender for a catch and another in the end zone when he got Stanley Jean-Baptiste to bite on an inside fake for an easy touchdown.
Of note: Something to keep an eye on: Mark Ingram is catching a lot of passes that aren’t screens. Perhaps he’s taking on a bigger role in the passing offense.
Complete script of plays
(Credit to partner Joel Erickson for helping chart plays)
1. Complete to Nick Toon (slant)
2. Mark Ingram run (plus yardage)
3. Mark Ingram run (plus yardage)
4. Incomplete to Josh Morgan (Delvin Breaux and Ramon Humber tackle)
5. Complete to Marques Colston (curl, 2.71 seconds to throw, Kyle Wilson coverage) *substitution penalty
6. Khiry Robinson run (stretch, Jerry Franklin tackle)
7. Complete to Ben Watson (drag, 2.28 seconds to throw)
8. Complete to Ben Watson (crossing, 2.62 seconds to throw)
9. Complete to Marques Colston (fade, 1.12 seconds to throw, Stanley Jean-Baptiste in coverage)
10. Khiry Robinson run (outside, Delvin Breaux tackle)
1. Complete to Erik Lorig (flair, Hau’oli Kikaha tackle)
2. Complete to Khiry Robinson (screen)
3. Tim Hightower run (up middle)
4. Complete to Seantavius Jones on sideline (rolling out, uncalled sack Kasim Edebali)
5. Incomplete to Seantavius Jones (thrown into double coverage, Keenan Lewis and Delvin Breaux pass breakup)
6. Complete to Marcus Murphy (screen, 1.85 seconds to throw)
7. Marcus Murphy (plus run outside)
8. Tim Hightower (plus run outside)
9. Complete to Erik Lorig (screen, 1.56 to throw)
10. Incomplete (thrown in dirt, 2,71 seconds)
11. Run by Tim Hightower (tackle by Ronald Powell)
12. Complete to Lance Lewis (check down, Ronald Powell and Jerry Franklin tackle)
13. Tim Hightower run outside (Lawrence Virgil tackle)
14. Edwin Backer run outside (Delvin Breaux tackle)
15. Complete to Willie Snead (slant, 2.07 seconds to throw, Stanley Jean-Baptiste tackle)
16. Incomplete (bootleg; Coley erases fullback, leading to incomplete pass)
17. Complete to Kyle Prater (quick screen, 1.03 to throw, Jamarca Sanford tackle)
18. Murphy run (stuffed in hole)
19. Incomplete to Kyle Prater (fade, 2.13 to throw, receiver did not track ball)
20. Incomplete to Lance Lewis (fade, thrown high, Terrence Frederick coverage)
1. Complete to R.J. Harris (screen, 2.16 seconds)
2. Edwin Baker run (cut back inside, plus yardage)
3. Complete to R.J. Harris (deep, 2.31 to throw, Brian Dixon pass interference)
4. Terrence Frederick pass interference
5. Edwin Baker run (touchdown)
6. Edwin Baker (screen, Jamarca Sanford tackle)
7. Edwin Baker run (Henry Coley tackle)
8. Incomplete to Kyle Prater (Delvin Breaux pass breakup)
9. Complete to Orson Charles (screen, 2.1 seconds to throw, Terrence Frederick tackle)
10. Marcus Murphy run (outside)
11. Incomplete to Marcus Murphy (3.03 seconds to throw)
12. Marcus Murphy run (up middle, Ashaad Mabry tackle)
13. Complete to Orson Charles (high snap Senio Kelemete, Pierre Warren tackle)
14. Marcus Murphy (Vinnie Sunseri tackle for loss)
15. False start on Sean Hickey
16. Intercepted by Vinnie Sunseri for touchdown
17. Incomplete to R.J. Harris (punched out by Terrence Frederick)
18. Complete to Lance Lewis (screen, 1.03 to throw, tackle by Stephone Anthony)
19. Edwin Baker run (Ronald Powell tackle, no gain)
20. Complete to Austin Johnson (screen, 2.54 seconds to throw, Stephone Anthony tackle)
21. Complete to Tim Hightower (screen, 1.88 seconds to throw, Terrence Frederick)
22. Tim Hightower run (draw)
23. Complete to to Kyle Prater (quick slant, 1.4 seconds to throw, Terrence Frederick tackle)
24. Incomplete (batted down by Tavaris Barnes)
25. Incomplete to Lance Lewis (fade, dropped, 2.03 to throw)
26. Complete to Willie Snead (scramble, 3.72 to throw)
27. In complete to Lance Lewis (slant, 1.4 to throw, Brian Dixon pass breakup)
1. Khiry Robinson run
2. Thrown away
3. Complete to Marques Colston (over middle, 2.88 seconds to throw, used body to shield off Delvin Breaux)
4. Complete to Ben Watson (comeback, 3.41 seconds, tackle by Hau’oli Kikaha)
5. Mark Ingram run (up middle)
6. Complete to Ben Watson (curl)
7. Scramble (pressure by Tyeler Davison allowed by Andrus Peat. Tackle by David Hawthorne)
8. Mark Ingram run (cutback run)
9. Complete to Mark Ingram (2.59 seconds to throw. Kasim Edebali in coverage)
10. Run by Tim Hightower (stretch, Tyeler Davison)
11. Thrown away (3.85 seconds)
12. Incomplete to Marques Colston (crossing, Rafael Bush pass breakup, plus coverage by Delvin Breaux)