Kristian: Byrd has surgery, defense forcing turnovers
What's the word on Byrd? Saints Safety Jairus Byrd is having surgery today on a disc in his back. Saints Coach Sean Payton described the ailment as asymptomatic, meaning it was basically an elective procedure. If it were the regular season, the Saints would have just treated Byrd instead of opting for surgery. The team decided that now would be the best time to get it done, and Payton says he expects Byrd to be a full go by training camp. Ultimately, it’s not a big cause for concern. Also, the defense performed well without him today in team drills; more on that later.
READ MORE: Jairus Byrd has back surgery
Where's Jimmy? It was a little odd not to see tight end Jimmy Graham out there with the Saints offense, but then again, we’ve seen Drew Brees miss OTA’s and off-season training, so I guess it’s not all that strange. Graham is still “unsigned” after being slapped with the franchise tag designation in March and has until July 15th to sign the one year franchise tag tender. Graham and the NFLPA filed a grievance against the Saints that will be held in New York on June 17th and 18th.
While I’m going to refrain from formulating opinions until three or four days into training camp, one thing that stood out today from the team period of practice was the emphasis on forcing turnovers. The Saints 1st and 2nd team units forced two fumbles and two interceptions, all while getting their hands on a few pass deflections.
Champ Bailey looked like he was moving well despite the injury concerns surrounding the fifteen-year veteran. Bailey worked with the 2nd team today, and while he didn’t pick off any passes, he was contesting several passes, and forced an interception after swatting a ball in the air. Don’t read anything into Bailey working with the 2nd team defense. It’s very common for “newcomers” to work with the second teamer’s early in the off-season in order to learn the system.
PHOTOS: Saints OTA's on Thursday morning
Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan was limited in practice today. Morgan tore his ACL during training camp last year, and missed the entire 2013 season. Linebacker Victor Butler participated fully in practice today. Butler was a big signing during the 2013 off-season, but suffered an ACL injury last year in OTA’s. Cornerback Patrick Robinson also coming off a knee injury was out their going full speed, and not wearing a knee brace.