Tonight's preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans won't have the usual stars that we're used to seeing in a black and gold uniform. Quarterback Drew Brees will not play in the contest, and second year man Sean Cannfield will get the start under center. Chase Daniel will serve as the backup. However, some Saints starters will get some snaps. “Our plan… is somewhat similar to last year. We are going to mix some guys in there. There are going to be some starters playing. There will be some guys playing that aren't starters in the very beginning of the game. A lot of guys will get a lot of playing time. We will try and get some of the veteran players, or guys that have been starters, some playing time that haven't (played much in the preseason.) Specifically, we will try and get Tracy Porter and Roman Harper some snaps. Will Smith will take snaps. Carl Nicks will take snaps,” Coach Sean Payton explained.
K Garrett Hartley, WR Joseph Morgan, S Paul Oliver, RB Chris Ivory, DE Greg Romeus, DE Cameron Jordan and DE Jeff Charleston all were not on the practice field on Wednesday. Wide receiver Lance Moore returned to the practice field in full uniform but did not take any reps. Defensive tackles Tom Johnson and Aubrayo Franklin also returned to practice, but their participation level was minimal as the team prepared many of the younger players for the preseason finale. Running back Pierre Thomas, safety Malcolm Jenkins, and quarterback Chase Daniel participated sparingly.
Who says it's not important:
The fourth preseason game of the exhibition season is as boring as watching paint dry. However it is an important game for several young players and veterans fighting for a roster spot. The Saints will trim their roster to 53 players on Saturday. This game is big for players like seventh round draft pick, linebacker Nate Bussey. “It's very important. He would be a great example. Nate is going to play a lot in the base and a lot in the kicking game. He is a real good example of a guy that is working to make an impression, not only on defense, but in special teams,” Payton said.
The Saints defense has had some issues with tackling during the preseason. Are you concerned? Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma isn't. "We don't make that an issue. As I said, we just worry about correcting it. We've been doing that. We did it yesterday and we did it again today.” Vilma added that he likes where the team is at with the season opener one week away.
What to look for tonight:
Ok, I'm trying to get excited about this one, and there is some reason to watch and things to look for. Most importantly, let's hope for good health, no injuries. With the season opener next Thursday night, that will be huge for the Saints. Watch some of the younger players such as LB Nate Bussey, CB Johny Patrick, and LB Martez Wilson. Also, we'll get to see the snap, placement and kick from the new battery of Justin Drescher, Chase Daniel and new left footed place kicker John Kasay.