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#pounditSunday, August 7, 2022

Articles tagged: New Orleans Saints

Saints 1st-round pick kicked out of practice after latest fight

Trevor Penning looking ahead.

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northern Iowa offensive lineman Trevor Penning (OL38) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints gained a physical and aggressive player when they selected Northern Iowa tackle Trevor Penning with the 19th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Penning has lived up to that billing so far during training camp.

On Wednesday, various reports from Saints training camp indicated that Penning and defensive tackle Malcolm Roach were kicked out of the team’s practice for getting into a fight.

The fight was the third after-the-whistle altercation in as many days for Penning this week.

On Monday, Penning and 2021 first-round pick Payton Turner threw multiple punches at each other during what looked to be a scrimmage. In Tuesday’s practice, Penning and last season’s special teams captain J.T. Gray were involved in some extracurricular shoving after a play.

Speaking to reporters after practice, Saints first-year head coach Dennis Allen explained his decision to remove both players.

“We’ve got to learn as a team how to compete and how to play and how to practice and push ourselves to the limit,” Allen said. “But yet not take it over the edge.”

Penning was the only college offensive lineman in 2021 to be named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award. The award is given to the national offensive player of the year.

While playing with an edge and a bit of a mean streak is a solid quality for a lineman to possess, Penning will likely have to learn to save that extra aggression for game days.

USFL star reportedly working out with Saints

Dennis Allen in a headset

Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen serves as head coach as Sean Payton has Covid-19 during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Odom has not been with an NFL team since the 2019 season, but the veteran defensive end managed to attract plenty of attention during the inaugural United States Football League season earlier this year.

Odom has a workout scheduled with the New Orleans Saints, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football reports. Odom’s agent recently said the 27-year-old has workouts lined up with three teams.

Odom racked up 12.5 sacks and eight tackles for loss during the 10-game USFL season. The sacks were 3.5 more than any other player. He also led the league with six forced fumbles and four blocked kicks. All of that was enough to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors.

An undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State, Odom has played for numerous teams across multiple leagues. He spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins. He also played for the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football in 2019 and the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders last year.

H/T Pro Football Talk

Might Alvin Kamara avoid suspension?

Alvin Kamara smiling in his New Orleans Saints uniform

Nov 7, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) during the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

As recently as late June, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was expected to receive a six-game suspension for a battery arrest in Las Vegas on the day of the 2022 Pro Bowl.

Kamara has been accused of assaulting a man while the victim was unconscious on the ground. He and two others, all of whom were arrested, allegedly stomped and punched the victim, leading to bodily harm and a subsequent hospitalization.

However, it now appears that Kamara may avoid NFL discipline. At least for now.

Nick Underhill of NOF Network recently appeared on the “Establish the Run” podcast with Adam Levitan and Evan Silva and reported that Kamara could escape a 2022 suspension entirely.

“It doesn’t seem to be moving in the direction that Alvin Kamara is going to be suspended before the season. And I doubt anything is going to happen during the season at this point,” Underhill said.

“It’s kind of stalled in the court process,” Underhill added. “The expectation is that there will be another continuance. So, as long as this goes on and the longer it plays out, the better it is for his odds to get those 17 games without that suspension.”

The 26-year-old Kamara has a hearing scheduled for early August. But as Underhill notes, that may be pushed to a later date.

Ultimately, Underhill says, the case won’t just “disappear” but may slowly begin to fade as time passes. And the longer things get delayed, the more likely it is that Kamara doesn’t miss a single game this season.

Michael Thomas’ status for Saints training camp revealed

Mike Thomas holding a ball

Dec 22, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) breaks the record for receptions in a season with this touchdown reception during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thomas is expected to return to the field for the New Orleans Saints this season for the first time in over a year. But he will not be on the field for the start of training camp.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported on Thursday that the Saints placed Thomas, as well as defensive end Marcus Davenport, on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for the start of training camp.

Thomas, 29, has undergone two surgeries on his left foot, including one that kept him out for the entire 2021 season. The Saints and Thomas disagreed on how to handle the injury, which may have prolonged Thomas’ recovery timetable.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport does not think Thomas will be on the PUP list for long. In an appearance on “NFL Total Access” on Tuesday, Rapoport said that Thomas could be activated early on during training camp.

Saints head coach Dennis Allen thought that Thomas would be ready by the start of training camp on July 26. New Orleans had one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL last season and stands to benefit from Thomas’ return. The three-time Pro Bowler had four consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards to start his career and led the league with 149 catches for 1,725 yards in 2019.

Jameis Winston goes viral for practice speech

Jameis Winston with the Saints

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) before their game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints showed that they believe Jameis Winston can be an effective NFL starting quarterback when they signed him to a new two-year deal, and the veteran is trying to prove them right.

Winston has clearly made an effort to take on a leadership role this offseason. Some Saints players held an unofficial training camp this week, and Winston went viral for a great speech he gave after one of the sessions. He sounded more like a coach than a 28-year-old quarterback. Here’s a portion:

Winston spoke to his teammates about the importance of taking care of their bodies. The speech ended with everyone huddled up and shouting “family!” on three. You can see the full speech below:

One of the reasons the two-minute was so noteworthy is that Winston does not exactly have a reputation for giving great speeches to his teammates. In fact, he was ruthlessly mocked over one attempt to do just that (video here) when he was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers several years ago.

Winston is still working his way back to full strength after he suffered a torn ACL midway through last season. It is a good sign that he was able to practice with his teammates all week. He appears to be on track to start in Week 1.

Jameis Winston takes step forward in his recovery

Jameis Winston with the Saints

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) before their game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Jameis Winston has been rehabbing for several months after he suffered a torn ACL in Week 8 last year, and the New Orleans Saints quarterback took another big step forward this week.

Winston shared a video on Instagram Tuesday that showed him working through some throwing drills without a brace on his left knee. He took two-step drops and threw passes in the rain. You can see the clip below:

Winston had surgery on his knee last November. He had been wearing a brace during OTAs and minicamp and will likely wear it throughout the 2022 season. Still, it is a positive sign that he is able to work through drills without the brace.

In seven games last season, Winston threw for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdown passes, and just three interceptions. The 28-year-old played well in place of the injured Drew Brees.

The Saints signed another veteran quarterback this offseason, but the plan has always been for Winston to start. If he continues on his current path, he may be ready for Week 1.

Alvin Kamara responds to report about his looming suspension

Alvin Kamara wearing an Atlanta Braves hat

Feb 9, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara watches a game between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara appears to be miffed at a Thursday report containing details of his expected suspension for the 2022 season.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Thursday that Kamara will likely face a six-game suspension for an incident in Las Vegas during the Pro Bowl weekend. Kamara was accused of punching a man at a Las Vegas nightclub. While charges are pending, it’s expected that Kamara will have to miss time once criminal proceedings conclude.

Kamara responded to Florio Thursday via Twitter shortly after the report came out. The running back posed a likely sarcastic question for the NFL reporter.

“@ProFootballTalk can you tell us when Jesus gon return to earth?” Kamara wrote.

The 26-year-old has a hearing scheduled for early August. The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy contains a six-game minimum suspension in the event of a felony battery, which is the charge that Kamara is facing.

According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department report of the incident, Kamara allegedly punched an unconscious victim while the victim was lying on the ground. Kamara and three other men were also accused of stomping on the victim dozens of times, leading to an orbital fracture on the face of the victim.

If Kamara is indeed suspended for six games, the Saints will have to rely heavily on veteran Mark Ingram II and second-year back Tony Jones Jr. The team worked out veteran running back David Johnson during minicamp, but did not sign him to a contract.

Michael Thomas gives hint about his rehab in Instagram video?

Mike Thomas holding a ball

Dec 22, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) breaks the record for receptions in a season with this touchdown reception during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Thomas did not play at all in 2021 due to a foot injury. New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen said last month that he expects the star wide receiver to be cleared at some point this offseason, and Thomas may have dropped a hint on Friday that he is getting closer.

Thomas shared a video on his Instagram story that showed him doing one-legged box jumps on his left leg. The 29-year-old has undergone two surgeries on his left foot, so that seems significant.

Allen said the plan was for Thomas to be ready for training camp, which is still more than a month away.

Thomas and the Saints had a disagreement last offseason over how Thomas should handle his foot injury. He reportedly blew the team off after doctors suggested he undergo surgery. That may have delayed his recovery time, and he ultimately sat out the entire season.

Thomas had more than 1,000 yards receiving in each of his first four NFL seasons. He had a whopping 149 catches for 1,725 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2019 before the injury issues popped up.

Former Pro Bowl RB visits with Saints

Dennis Allen in a headset

Dec 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen serves as head coach as Sean Payton has Covid-19 during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are looking to add depth at the running back position, and could do so in the form of a former Pro Bowler.

The Saints are hosting running back David Johnson for a visit on Monday, according to Saints reporter Nick Underhill. The 30-year-old spent the last two seasons with the Houston Texans.

Johnson would be a depth addition at this point in his career. He has not been able to replicate his dominant 2016 season, which saw him tally 2,118 yards from scrimmage on the way to an All-Pro nod. He suffered a wrist injury in 2017 that cost him nearly the entire season, and never recaptured the same form again. His two years with Houston were mostly a bust, as he tallied 1,458 total yards and nine touchdowns across 25 games.

The Saints have Mark Ingram as insurance behind Alvin Kamara, but the 32-year-old has injury concerns. Kamara himself is facing potential NFL discipline over offseason legal issues, which could motivate the Saints to add insurance.

Chris Olave draws comparison to Hall of Fame WR

Chris Olave looking ahead

May 14, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) during rookie camp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints moved up in this year’s NFL Draft to take Chris Olave, and the team has high expectations for the receiver.

Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland spoke about Olave with Nola.com’s Jeff Duncan on Saturday. Ireland said that Olave’s route-running ability was reminiscent of Marvin Harrison and other players like him.

“[Olave] reminds me of some players who have played in our league, the Marvin Harrisons, who were just silky smooth and effortless,” Ireland said. “And same body type. It doesn’t look like they were running fast, but when we turn on the clock, it’s like 4.3 (seconds). So there’s some really good aspects to that player.”

The Saints took Olave with the No. 11 pick in the draft.

On Thursday, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston called Olave a “smooth” route runner, and noted his football acumen.

In 2021, Olave caught 65 passes for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns in his final year at Ohio State.

Harrison had 1,102 catches and 128 touchdowns in 13 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. A 2016 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Harrison’s 14,580 career receiving yards are good for the ninth-best mark in NFL history.

While expectations are high for the first-round pick, Olave has a long way to go to get to Harrison’s level.

H/T Pro Football Talk