Here’s what we learned from the New Orleans Saints’ first practice of 2021

Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

As the New Orleans Saints‘ first official day of practice comes to a close, we learned a lot about this team and what the players think moving forward.

The biggest news of the day was obviously at quarterback, as Taysom Hill took reps with the starters with Jameis Winston next in line. Even with Hill getting first-team reps, Winston impressed the most and had all of the hype coming out of practice.

As Amie Just and the other Saints reporters frequently noted, however, was that even though Hill took starting reps on Thursday, that doesn’t mean he’ll stay in that role. The Saints will rotate quarterbacks throughout training camp and the preseason to give both guys an equal shot to show what they can do.

Speaking of surprise starters, Patrick Robinson, Kaden Elliss, and Zack Baun found their way onto the starting team in practice. Robinson isn’t all that shocking, as he has been a presumed starter along with Marshon Lattimore and now Brian Poole but Elliss and Baun being there is more buzzworthy. Mike Triplett noted that rookie Pete Werner replaced Baun later on during drills and that this isn’t set in stone by any means. That’s certainly worth repeating.

The New Orleans Saints gave us plenty to talk about after practice.

Once practice was over, the Saints had a few players speak with the media.

Terron Armstead was one of those players who spoke with the media and the most notable thing he said was his praise of Cesar Ruiz. The Saints spent a first-round pick on Ruiz in last year’s draft and while he was pretty hit and miss as a rookie, Armstead believes he’ll fit in perfectly with this offensive line.

Ruiz having a breakout year would bolster the Saints’ offensive line even more. We all know how good this o-line is as is but with Ruiz playing to the level that the Saints expected when they took him in round one would make them darn near impossible to get through.

Alvin Kamara also fielded questions and he mentioned that both Hill and Winston want to build their chemistry with him. This obviously makes perfect sense, as Kamara is the premier weapon on the team, especially with Michael Thomas being out.

Tre’Quan Smith spoke with the media too and he was peeved that people don’t believe in the receivers already on the roster. He thinks this group can pick up the slack while Thomas is out. While I’m skeptical of this, I appreciate the confidence and hopefully, Smith is right about this group.

It’s only been one day of practice for the Saints but Winston and Hill finally taking snaps against each other and the rest of the guys getting out there really hits home that football is right around the corner.

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It’ll be a unique season for the New Orleans Saints but with one day of camp in the books, we know there’s a lot more to come between now and the start of the season.