Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Writer
METAIRIE, La. ― Devery Henderson ran a perfect route and caught an easy pass from Drew Brees late in Saturday's practice.
A few play later, Robert Meachem leapt high to make a highlight-reel grab in traffic.
And Adrian Arrington? He wasn't on the field.
Not exactly Arrington needs to be doing in this, his last chance to make a full roster after spending the previous two seasons on the practice squad after missing his rookie season on injured reserve.
It's certainly not what he needs to be doing when several undrafted rookie free agents are on his tail for the fifth receiver position that is, should Saints coach Sean Payton keep a fifth receiver.
Jarred Fayson and Joe Morgan are having good camps and have every chance at this point to pass Arrington.
The Saints brought back fan favorite defensive end Jeff Charleston, signing him as a free agent. To make room on the roster, New Orleans cut defensive end Curtis Johnson.
'Easy decision,' Charleston said. 'My girlfriend is from here. I spend 90 percent of my time here. It's definitely an easy decision. I don't want to be anywhere else. This is home to me. I'm glad to be back.'
Offensive tackle Charles Brown (hamstring) finally passed his physical, earning practice time for the first time this preseason. He was limited.
Running back Chris Ivory (left foot) returned from sports hernia surgery in Philadelphia and was out along with cornerback Tracy Porter (left knee) and defensive end Greg Romeus (right knee). All are on the failed physical list.
Receiver Marques Colston (right knee), linebacker Ezra Butler (left hamstring), receiver Jarred Fayson (left ankle), Arrington (ankle), defensive tackle Mitch King (chest) and cornerback Fabian Washington (hamstring) were Friday's non-participants with camp injuries. Washington began practice but didn't finish.
Lest you think the Saints' coaching staff isn't paying attention to the heat and extreme heat indices, know this they absolutely are.
Saturday's practice was a hot one. According to the National Weather Service, 3:53 p.m. seven minutes before the Saints were scheduled to take the practice field, temperatures were 94 degrees with dew point of 72 degrees. That translates to a 102 degree heat index.
If you head out to practice , you'll see coaches wearing long sleeve shirts despite the high and dangerous temperatures.
For secondary coach Tony Oden, this isn't a fashion choice. Instead, it's all about knowing how his players are feeling.
Oden said that he knows if he's feeling overheated, his players, who are wearing jerseys, shoulder pads and helmets, are overheated. He'll immediately slow the pace of his drills down and give the players more recovery time instead of drilling them hard.
It's smart and it's a must when temperatures and the humidity are as high as they have been.
This and that
*Right tackle Jon Stinchcomb was working with the second-team offense while Zach Strief was taking snaps with the first team. Stinchcomb has started 80 consecutive games for the Saints. I don't expect this to mean anything; Payton was shifting lots of players around Saturday.
*In maybe a sign of the future, rookie linebacker Martez Wilson and rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan exploded into the backfield during a team drill, stuffing a called middle draw to running back Joique Bell.
*Kicker Garrett Hartley went 7 of 8 on Saturday, missing a 38-yard kick from the right hash. He's 21 of 24 the past three days, pushing all of his missed kicks to the right.
*I've said it before, I'll say it again: running back Mark Ingram is going to impress a lot of people this year.
*Ditto for receiver Devery Henderson, whom people have questioned because of his consistency.
*There's going to be a fight for the nickel position in the secondary. Cornerback Leigh Torrence was in the position today, but if cornerback Tracy Porter returns sooner than expected, that could be cornerback Patrick Robinson's spot to lose.
*I think fans that haven't been to practice are going to love running back Darren Sproles. A lot.
*Don't be surprised if somewhere down the line, maybe even after Friday's preseason opener, we're talking about a Shaun Roger-Aubrayo Franklin starting interior with Sedrick Ellis coming in on short yardage and given passing downs. That's not a knock on Ellis; it's more a nod at the run-stopping ability of Rogers and Franklin.
1st and 10: RB Pierre Thomas for 2-3 yards middle
1st and 10: QB Drew Brees to WR Robert Meachem out route right for 8 yards
1st and 10: RB Darren Sproles at left guard for 2 yards
1st and 10: Thomas mid give for 3-4 yards; CB Leigh Torrence strips ball (possibly after whistle)
1st and 10: Brees to Meachem for 6 yards
2nd and 10: Brees play-action pump, hits WR Devery Henderson on right for 21 yards
3rdand 8: Brees sacked
3rd and 5: Brees sacked by DE Alex Brown and DE Will Smith
1st and 10: RB Mark Ingram bounces right end for 18; Torrence throws him down out of bounds & has a flag thrown on him
3rd and 4: Brees to Henderson slant, CB Patrick Robinson makes beautiful read, breaks up pass
3rd and 6: Brees to TE Jimmy Graham for 5; SS Roman Harper on coverage
3rd and 8: Brees complete in front of Robinson for 20-plus (couldn't see receiver)
3rd and 10: Offensive line doesn't move at snap; DE Jeff Charleston sacks Brees
3rd and 4: Brees check down to Sproles for long gain with Smith in coverage
3rd and 6: Brees to WR Lance Moore, dropped first down in front of Robinson
3rd and 8: Brees to Moore over Torrence for 24 yards
3rd and 10: Brees lofts high pass to Meachem, who skies over defensive backs for 20-plus yard catch.
The Saints will practice again Sunday afternoon from 4-6:45 p.m. It's outdoors and open to the public, weather permitting.