The bad news: The injury bug really hit this team hard. Two players who factored in pretty well into the Saints’ plans are lost for the year. WR Joe Morgan has a partial tear of his ACL and a tear of his meniscus, and he’s going to have surgery today and be out for the rest of the season. Also, DE Kenyon Coleman tore his pectoral muscle and is also lost for the season. The Saints brought in Coleman free agency, and is a player whom Rob Ryan called the ‘best run defender in the 3-4 in the NFL,’
How serious is this? Well, you don’t EVER want to have injuries, but I guess you’d rather have them early, so that players can have time to kind of carve their niche out, and you’ll get time to find out who is its that’s going to take those guys’ spots. And right now at WR, it figures to be Kenny Stills out of Oklahoma. And as far as Kenyon Coleman, it’s an opportunity for DT Akeem Hicks to step up and be the run defender. So on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it about a 7…even Coach Payton called it “significant.” But, remember, we haven’t even played the first game yet. It’s early. It will give guys more opportunities to get some reps in the preseason, and certainly more practices. I’ll expect that they will bring in a veteran DE who has played in the 3-4 scheme, to kind of soften the burden who are already on their roster. They can look at some other free agent DE’s.
The other 4: RB Pierre Thomas LB Junior Galette, WR Saalim Hakim, and DB Keenan Lewis all left the field today with trainers. Coach Payton didn’t elaborate much, but then again, he doesn’t ever say much about injuries until he has to. It could be heat related or a muscle pull for the four players, and we’ll probably learn more tomorrow. Coach always plays info about injuries close to the vest.
Who stood out: Ironically, WR Kenny Stills looked pretty solid. He’s making real strides and good progress. For the most part, the emphasis on running the football is still very much there. One thing they appear focused on heading into the KC game is establishing that identity (the running game) as a part of the offense. I thought in the one-on-one DB vs. WR drills, the defense stood out. Keenan Lewis had another solid practice.
Another player to keep an eye one, who is getting rave reviews from other players: Rookie OT Terron Armstead. Several players I talked to today said this guy will wow you with his athleticism at 310 pounds. He’s been impressive, though he’s still a little raw and needs more time to develop. He could turn into a heck of a football player.
Tomorrow: Thursday’s practice is Indoors, closed to the public, 4:30 to 6:30. We’ll be there and give you a full recap after practice, but I don’t expect much hitting on the day before a game. They might even dress out in just jerseys and helmets, like a minicamp practice….light stuff, sort of a walkthrough.
How hot was it? Man, this was THE hottest day of practice so far. In fact, it was so hot, Alex Rodriguez tested positive for Snapple. (Yea, I stole that from somewhere.)