Saints camp report: Tom Benson treated after showing altitude-related symptoms

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — After experiencing altitude-related symptoms, Saints owner Tom Benson left practice at The Greenbrier resort Tuesday to receive oxygen, team spokesman Greg Bensel said.

Bensel said Benson received treatment at a hospital in nearby Lewisburg under the care of Saints physician Dr. John Amoss. A series of tests did not uncover any issues or complications, and Benson was released by Tuesday afternoon.

“He is doing great,” Bensel said. “(Tom and wife Gayle) Benson thank all of those that have reached out.”

Benson last week struggled with the altitude at The Greenbrier, which is in the Allegheny Mountains. Medical personnel treated him for dehydration.

Those incidents follow an emergency room trip in May. In Atlanta during the NFL owners meetings — where Minneapolis was selected over New Orleans as site for the 2018 Super Bowl — Benson fell and hit his head during the vote.

Benson, who turned 87 on July 12, had knee surgery before the meetings. He was checked for a possible concussion and stayed overnight but was ultimately cleared.

Staying fresh

Fresh is better, especially with pass rushers.

“The more you have, the better you’re going to be,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.

That’s why defensive gurus like Ryan prefer to rotate outside linebackers and defensive linemen — even lesser players — during extended series instead of keeping starters in for every play.

While Junior Galette leads the charge for the Saints at outside linebacker, younger players like rookie Ronald Powell have a shot to join the passing rush committee.

“I’m learning every day,” said Powell, who played at Florida. The Saints selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. “I’m learning the little things, getting more comfortable dropping in coverages, learning where my help is. Knowing where the weaknesses is in the defense. And that’s been big for me.”

Powell’s learning is part of a two-way challenge at Saints camp. He’s also still working to get past two ACL knee injuries that forced him to miss the 2012 college season.

Powell entered Florida as the top defensive end recruit in the nation. He said his best way to guarantee a spot on the regular-season roster is through his work on special teams.

“It’s a very important phase of the game, and I’m trying to be a part of that,” he said. “I think it’s all about ‘want to.’ Whenever you take pride in this game, it’s something that I’m going to be good at because I want to do it, and I’m going to try my best to do it and get the job done.”

Powell is competing with injured veteran Victor Butler; Rufus Johnson, a sixth-round draft pick in 2013; free agent Keyunta Dawson and others.

“He’s a young guy who’s got a lot of talent, and we’re excited about him,” Ryan said of Powell. “He hustles, (and) he’s doing great on (special) teams as well. We’re really excited about his upside.”

White praised by Ryan

Third-year pro Corey White has played inside corner during training camp. But he’s also played outside.

White’s performance at both positions has caught the attention of Ryan. He has collected an interception during the past two full-contact practices.

“We really like him,” Ryan said. “We know he’s an ascending player and he’s going to be really good.”

White’s importance has increased with Champ Bailey (undisclosed injury) out for an unknown period of time. White’s main competition for a reserve role are fifth-year pro Patrick Robinson and second-round pick Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

Brees update

Quarterback Drew Brees (oblique) missed his third practice, but coach Sean Payton declined to rule him out for Friday’s preseason opener at St. Louis.

“Like I said yesterday and the day before, we’re just going to take it day by day,” Payton said. “We’re going to see where he is at. We are going to be smart, though.”

Between the lines: Five observations from Tuesday’s practice session:

1: LT Terron Armstead shone in one-on-one drills, halting Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette in their tracks. Jordan and Galette combined for 24.5 sacks last season.

2: Less touted than some of his peers, CB Corey White is trending upward. After picking off Ryan Griffin on Monday, he broke up a Griffin pass to Jimmy Graham on Tuesday and later intercepted him.

3: Bryce Harris, an oft-used reserve tackle in 2013, is still struggling in one-on-ones. He dropped two encounters to OLB Marcus Thompson, who was waived later in the day.

4: Reserve safety Marcus Ball momentarily lined up with the 1s under Kenny Vaccaro and Rafael Bush in a three-safety alignment — a just reward after a sack and an interception in Saturday’s scrimmage.

5: Former Bucs coach Greg Schiano observed practice on the field for a second straight day. He was 0-4 against the Saints in two years with Tampa Bay.