Stills, Grubbs remain out; Cooks, Robinson continue to impress

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills and Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs sat out their fifth and third full days of practice on Thursday, respectively.

Stills tweaked a quad in drills on Friday at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia and had been out since. It is not known what is wrong with Grubbs, who was limited Sunday and has not been back in drills.

The only other player not participating Thursday was Saints nose tackle John Jenkins, on the physically unable to perform list after reportedly undergoing offseason pec surgery.

Stills and Jenkins were seen running and conditioning off to the side. Grubbs was on the stationary bicycle.

Observations

-The two most spectacular plays of 11-on-11 passing drills came from players on opposite sides. Covering the slot, Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson jumped a route and picked off a Drew Brees pass to wide receiver Andy Tanner. It was the finest moment so far of what's been a fine camp for Robinson, coming back from a knee injury that kept him out of most of the 2013 campaign.

Then, with the backups in, undrafted rookie Saints wide receiver Brandon Coleman slipped behind cornerback Rod Sweeting and dove to catch a pass of more than 40 yards from Ryan Griffin in the end zone. Though he's dropped passes on occasion this training camp and routinely did that in offseason practices, the 6-foot-6 Coleman's athleticism is undeniable at times, such as that one.

-In some team run-blocking drills, Saints running back Pierre Thomas had a nice carry in between the guards for a decent gain, and then Mark Ingram went left and made the corner for a long yardage, displaying good burst.

Khiry Robinson on one snap began right, cut left between guard and tackle and then showed some power to make some extra yardage after first contact on the second level. Robinson on a subsequent snap again met linebackers at the second level to gain some extra yardage after cutting between the tackles smoothly to find the hole.

As is the case every year, the Saints opened training camp with the goal of installing a reliable run game. They ended last season on a high note in that respect after a slow start over the first half of the campaign, and they're doing what they can at this point of the year to make sure it carries over.

-Bringing the morning practice crowd to life, there were some physical -- if minor -- confrontations during the individual run-blocking drill. After asking for noise from fans, Saints defensive lineman Akiem Hicks forced tackle Ty Nsekhe to finish a block without his helmet. Then, Saints defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker and right tackle Zach Strief got tangled up, and players -- them included -- got in each other's faces. Fans clamored at the minor temper flare-up, but things got back to normal quickly.

Later, Khiry Robinson and Curtis Lofton were tangled up and getting into it, but Brees stepped in to break things up. Perhaps realizing their franchise quarterback was between them, Robinson and Lofton let it go.

-He's had some moments in camp where his talent is obvious, but No. 4 quarterback Logan Kilgore had a couple of down notes in an individual blocking drill working under center. He fumbled snaps from centers Tim Lelito and Matt Armstrong, clapping in frustration and shaking his head after the second one.

-In one-on-ones, we scored two relatively clear wins to Saints defensive end Glenn Foster. Saints tackle Bryce Harris suffered two pretty decisive defeats. And left tackle Terron Armstead held his own against Junior Galette (whose 12 sacks in 2013 were sixth most in the NFL), appearing to win one encounter and maybe drawing another.

Foster and Harris are vying to keep their reserve roles from 2013. Armstead ended last season as the starter at tackle.

-During some team passing drills, running back Travaris Cadet got a chance to make a grab out the backfield right after Pierre Thomas did. Thomas led NFL running backs in receptions last year (77), which speaks well for what they think of Cadet's abilities in that respect.

Also in those passing drills, rookie receiver Brandin Cooks -- the first-round pick out of Oregon State -- continued showing all the tools he has in his set as a player. He turned up a pair of bubble screens very quickly, and he returned for a back shoulder grab smoothly.

Later, he had a one-handed catch in traffic to wrap up practice.

-Serving as a gunner on punting drills, cornerback Terrence Frederick came up limping on one rep. It didn't appear he participated at the end of practice.

Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan was banged up at one juncture of practice but then came back and finished the workout off well.