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Saints and Chargers Have a Spirited 1st Joint Practice in Costa Mesa

The New Orleans Saints just wrapped up their first of two joint Practice Sessions against the Los Angeles Chargers out in Costa Mesa, California (just outside of Los Angeles) a short while ago, in advance of their scheduled nationally-televised broadcast against the Bolts this Sunday Evening (3:00 p.m. Central time, on CBS).

There were several players from both teams that stood out, and here are just a few of the “highlights”:

  • A minor scuffle broke out between the teams near the end of Practice, and Saints 4th year DT David Onyemata had to pulled out of the pile-up of bodies after a play. Chargers starting QB Philip Rivers was  a bit upset about the incident, and was clearly heard yelling at the Saints defense afterwards.
  • Undrafted rookie WR Emmanuel Butler ran with the 1st team offense, a possible sign of good things to come for the young man who has emerged as the #1 star of this year’s Saints Training Camp
  • The Saints’ 1st-team offense dominated the Chargers 1st-team defense in team drills, as the Saints RB’s led by Latavius Murray, gashed the Chargers on several big runs from scrimmage.
  • Veteran slot cornerback PJ Williams picked off Rivers and returned it all the way to the end zone for what would have been a “Pick 6” interception, pointing to the sky as he ran it back in a manner reminiscent of Tracy Porter‘s game-sealing interception when the Saints won their one and only Super Bowl back in 2009
  • Not to be outdone, veteran CB Eli Apple had two nice pass breakups against Chargers #2 WR Mike Williams and #3 WR Andrew Patton.
  • CB Patrick Robinson with a phenomenal PBU (pass break-up) after #4 Chargers WR (and former LSU star) Malachi Dupre, who appeared initially to have beaten P-Rob on the play, but the veteran Saints CB managed to stay with him stride-for-stride and eventually was able to knock the ball away.

Unfortunately for New Orleans, not everything “came up roses” as Rivers had his way on a few different occasions with the Saints defensive backs in 7-on-7 drills.

And on the flip side of things, Saints QB Drew Brees got intercepted on a pass that was intended for Butler. but the ball bounced off of Butler’s hands, and right into the arms of Chargers All-Pro safety Derwin James — who then ran it back for his own “Pick 6” Interception and was sure to “troll” the Saints by mimicking the very same celebration that PJ Williams had done earlier.

Additionally, although both Saints superstars Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas were dressed in full pads, neither player took part in the team drills; which one assumes was Saints head coach Sean Payton‘s decision so as not to risk any unnecessary injuries before the start of the 2019 NFL Regular Season in 3 more weeks from now.

Nevertheless, it was a spirited effort by players from both sides. and they will meet once again tomorrow for the 2nd of the two previously scheduled Joint Practices, before the two teams meet once again head-to-head at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles this Sunday….

Big Easy Magazine contributing writer and Saints News Network columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and writer previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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