LB Pete Werner returns for first padded practice

LB Pete Werner returns for first padded practice

This is good to see: Pete Werner returned to practice at New Orleans Saints training camp on Monday, having missed the first four days of camp with an undisclosed injury. And as luck would have it, Werner’s return coincided with the first practice session in pads for New Orleans. So the starting linebacker didn’t enjoy the benefits of a slow ramp-up like his teammates.

In any case: getting Werner back so soon is good for the defense as a whole. They’ve been practicing without a starter at each level — Marcus Davenport opened camp on the PUP list, Tyrann Mathieu has been away from the team with an excused absence, with Warner also sidelined — and the sooner the unit is back to full strength, the better. These players need to be sharing the field together and putting in these reps in August so they can start fast come September.

Tight end Juwan Johnson also returned to practice on a limited basis, having been out of action for a few days with his own undisclosed injury. He did well on limited last season snaps but is firmly on the roster bubble this summer after Taysom Hill converted from quarterback to tight end, crowding a position group the Saints rarely run four-deep (Hill, Adam Trautman, and Nick Vannett are essentially locks to make the roster). Johnson needs to get back up to speed and draw all the targets he can get in preseason to build his case for that last roster spot.

As for other attendance — defensive backup back Bryce Thompson returned after his own brief absence, and Alvin Kamara was present along with the rest of the running backs. That’s newsworthy given Aug. 1 was scheduled for his next court date in Las Vegas, which he wasn’t required to attend. We’ll see if there’s any movement on that front.

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