Kristian's Quick Hits: Saints dealing with injuries & keying on Mario
by Kristian Garic, email@example.com,posted Oct 24 2013 8:01AM
The Saints were without their biggest offensive and defensive weapons at practice to open preparation for the Bills. Tight end Jimmy Graham (foot) did not practice. Graham suffered a foot injury in the week 6 loss to the Patriots. Defensive end Cameron Jordan (ankle) also sat out of practice. The good news? Wide receiver Lance Moore took every rep in practice Wednesday for the first time since week 3 against the Cardinals. He's been recovering from a hand injury. The rest of the Wednesday injury report had the following players sitting out: Offensive tackle Zach Strief (ankle), running back Mark Ingram (toe), defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker (knee), and safety Roman Harper (knee). Cornerback Jabari Greer also missed practice, listed as "Non injury related".
Moore is glad to be back on the field: "It's funny; you get so excited to be back around your teammates. My hand feels good, that's definitely a positive and encouraging sign," Moore said. The Saints (5 and 1) had an extra week to stew on that loss to the Patriots, but Coach Payton says he's pleased with how his team handled the down time. "I thought they did a good job during the bye taking care of themselves. We had a few guys who were injured that had to be here for treatment. Generally when you go through a week like that, no news is good news. I thought they handled schedule pretty well."
Mario's world: The Saints are paying extra attention to Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams who has tallied 10 sacks in 7 games this season. "They get a lot of pressure from just their base. In the nickel snaps he's more to our right. He's had an exceptional season. He's someone who's comfortable on either side of the tackle," Payton explained. The Saints typically do a good job neutralizing a team's pass rusher, with some chips from the running backs and tight ends on their way to passing routes. I would expect a similar approach with Williams.
The Payton coaching tree: Sean Payton has had a number of coaches under his tutelage go on to become college and NFL coaches. He faces a member of his original staff Sunday against the Bills in head coach Doug Marrone. Marrone served as the Saints offensive coordinator and line coach from 2006 to 2008 before leaving to take of the Syracuse head coaching position. Marrone was hired this past spring to coach the Bills. Payton reflects back on the initial contact he had with Marrone while assembling his first coaching staff in New Orleans. "We needed a coordinator, someone with experience coaching the offensive line. The challenge at that time... we were shortly removed from Katrina. Doug was someone who I had met before. He was able to get out of his contract with the Jets, and I had a chance to interview him and felt really comfortable with his expertise." Payton said he's stayed in constant contact with since he left in 2008.