Practice 1/17, Day 16, Training Camp Observations
P Thomas Morstead was among 12 players to sit out Saturday morning's practice, but his injury was the most serious. X-rays and MRI's came back negative on Morstead and Head Coach Sean Payton said they'd pay attention to it this week before deciding on whether to play him Saturday against the Texans in a 7 p.m. game at the Superdome.
Also sitting out FB Marcus Mailei, WR Adrian Arrington (sprained shoulder), TE Jimmy Graham (sprained right ankle), TE Tyler Lorenzen, DL Jimmy Wilkerson (left knee), LB Stanley Arnoux and FS Usama Young.
WR Rod Harper (left hip) was limited, but didn't work in pads while the team was in shells.
The PUP players S Darren Sharper (left knee), WR Robert Meachem (toe) and LB Clint Ingram (left knee) all continued to sit out practice.
The Saints went light in the morning as Payton continues to monitor their physical health less than 48 hours removed from a game.
The team ended practice nearly 30 minutes early.
'I don't think it's wise a day and a half from when you played the game to start off the bat,' Payton said. 'We have another physical team coming in and we'll continue to place the emphasis on the fundamentals, some of the things we didn't do as well Thursday night.'
While LB Jonathan Casillas has been working at weakside linebacker, it has been behind LB Scott Shanle. Saturday morning, they were both on the field at the same time, with Casillas working at the No. 1 WLB slot and Shanle working at the No. 1 SLB spot.
Also of note, DB Randall Gay took a snap in the strong safety position. But I'm not sure I would take much from it other than defensive coordinator Gregg Williams tinkering with a couple of things. He also had CB Tracy Porter take a snap or two with the second team.
Pressing for turnovers:
Williams loves turnovers. The Saints, in fact, were second in the NFL last season in taking the ball away. But Thursday night against the Patriots, the Saints came away with zero turnovers.
So, Williams made his players pay the price 30 up-downs prior to individual drills.
'The basic thing is that when we start the season we get a chance to take the ball away and we didn't take the ball away,' Williams said. 'We had a chance to give up rushing touchdowns. We have to make sure that we get in better shape to understand that that's not how we are. It was just a little bit of a message-sending.'
- Team 1:
- QB Drew Brees play-action pass to FB Heath Evans to the right
- RB Reggie Bush bounces outside with the Saints' defense in a two-linebacker scheme
- Brees hits WR Marques Colston on the left side as Colston gets both feet in
- Brees aims for WR Lance Moore, but SS Roman Harper breaks up the pass by batting the ball away as it got to Moore.
- RB Pierre Thomas around left end
Others LB Anthony Waters goes high to snatch a pass out of the air from quarterback Chase Daniel
Third-and-1: Good coverage forces Brees to throw the ball away
Third-and-1: P Thomas pushes the pile for a yard and a first down
Third-and-1: Bush runs around left end for first
Third-and-1: Brees play-action pass left to Thomas, who can't catch the pass
Just one more quick note S Chip Vaughn was out for blood Saturday morning. Despte being in only shells (no pants and not the full shoulder pads), Vaughn knocked the daylights out of FB Zak Keasey. A few plays later, RB Chris Ivory broke through the middle for a long gain, but was pummeled out of bounds by the safety.
The Saints practice against today from 4:20-5:45 p.m. It's indoors and closed to the public.
Sunday's practice is from 8:50-11:20 a.m. and is schedule for the outdoor fields. It's open to the public, weather permitting.