The New Orleans Saints traveled to Green Bay to practice against the Packers this week and to play in their preseason this Friday. These practices were very intense with the players being able to hit someone that wasn’t their own teammate. The Packers looked very good in these two practices. There were some players that stood out in these practices and were really able to make plays against a good Saints team.
Sammy Watkins had his best practice as a Packer on Tuesday. In 11 on 11 team drills, he was able to get some things going deep down the field against a very good Saints secondary. Throughout practice, it seemed Aaron Rodgers seemed to trust him more and more which led to him getting more targets as practice went on. In the red zone portion of practice, he was great. He was finding different ways of getting open and even when he wasn’t open, he was able to go up high and snag the ball right out of the air. If Watkins can stay healthy, he could be a reliable target for Rodgers this season.
It’s no surprise that Jaire Alexander is on this list. Alexander is one of the best corners in the league and showed it once again on Tuesday. Alexander lined up against one of the best receivers in the league in Michael Thomas. Thomas had one catch against Alexander on Tuesday and it went for five yards. They kept testing him and it never went well for the Saints. In the two minute drill on fourth and eight, Andy Dalton tried making a throw over the middle to Michael Thomas and Alexander made a diving play to swat the ball to the ground and stall the drive. These are the types of plays we are used to from Alexander and expect to see this season.
Ramiz Ahmed is a kicker who was just signed recently by the Packers since Mason Crosby is out with a leg injury. Ahmed is not on this list for a good reason though. On Tuesday, Ahmed went six for ten while kicking field goals. This really isn’t good especially for practice, but what makes it worse is he was missing some chip shot field goals. The kicks that he was missing are kicks that a NFL kicker should be making. Mason Crosby had his ups and downs last year, but the Packers should be praying that he is back by week one. Ahmed is not the answer at kicker and the Packers could be in some trouble if Crosby isn’t able to come back in time for week one against the Minnesota Vikings.
After Tuesday’s practice, Aaron Rodgers called out the young receivers about their inconsistency. “The young guys, especially young receivers, we’ve got to be way more consistent. A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area,” said Rodgers. He called out the young receivers and Juwann Winfree responded well in Wednesday’s practice. Winfree is on the border of making the roster, but has gotten praise from Rodgers throughout his time in Green Bay. During practice, Winfree made some big time plays. In team drills, he made a couple plays, but what he did very well was the red zone drill. Winfree was spectacular in this particular drill. He was able to create seperation with not much field to work with and made an outstanding play in the back of the end zone making a diving catch. Winfree answered the call on Wednesday and will look to continue to do so the rest of training camp.
The Packers pass rush on both practice days against the Saints was exceptional. I couldn’t put one particular pass rusher on this list with how well so many of them played. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith did what they normally do in these two days. They put pressure on the outside and didn’t give much time to the Saints quarterbacks. Kenny Clark, Devonte Wyatt, and Jarran Reed were all able to create great pressure up the middle as well. They were able to force interior offensive lineman right back into the quarterback’s lap. Another player that really stood out is Kingsley Enagbare. Enagbare is an outside linebacker who was flying around and making plays not only as a pass rusher, but as a run defender as well. He was flying around and making play after play. Having Enagbare play well this season could be huge. The Packers have no outside linebacker depth behind Rashan Gary and Preston Smith so having Enagbare behind those two star linebackers would be great for Green Bay this season.
Jordan Love on Wednesday had his best practice so far this training camp. It was a slow start for the offense during team drills as the starters and backups all struggled to get anything going. After this slow start though, Love was on fire the rest of the day. In the red zone portion, Love couldn’t miss throwing multiple touchdowns. The Saints sent extra rushers and Love did a good job of extending the play and finding someone open. This is a big positive as this is something Love really struggled with last season. The last drill of the day was the two minute drill and the day couldn’t have ended any better for Love. Love fires a laser 50 yards downfield to wide receiver Samori Toure for a touchdown. A great day for Love who really needed a good day like today after he really struggled on Tuesday.