Steve: Big-name Saints will make preseason debut Saturday
Champ Bailey and Patrick Robinson participated in team drills for the second straight day, which is a great sign both are feeling better from undisclosed injuries that has kept them out for a significant amount of time. Will they be a go for Saturday’s preseason contest against the Colts?
“Well, I think the plan is to play them,” Payton said. “Then more importantly, the correct amount of reps. So, we went through the roles yesterday, what our goals are. But both of those guys will play.”
Rookie Brandin Cooks was back in action after missing some time due to illness. Payton said the other day he was dealing with a stomach virus and fever. Will the first round draft pick see the field in Indy? “We’ll see,” answered Payton. “We’ll see where he’s at tonight and tomorrow. Really just keeping him hydrated, getting his body weight up a little bit.”
The Colts will be a good test for the Saints, as they are one of the better teams in the AFC, finishing 11-4 last season and losing to the Patriots in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs.
Of the Colts, Payton said “There are a lot of new faces, guys that are very impressive and can run. Obviously we know the quarterback has turned into a real good football player, he’s got the arm to make all the throws. I think the offensive line has played well. And so when you put that together with the defense, you’re seeing a young roster that has played well and I’m sure they have high expectations.”
Obviously goal #1 in this contest is to stay healthy, but does quarterback Drew Brees have any other goals in mind? “Look sharp, make good decisions, score points,” Brees responded. “Feel like we get good tempo and rhythm going in the game.”
Preseason game #3 is typically where starters see a bulk of the playing time before the regular season kicks off. Does that make this exhibition game more meaningful?
“It is important, that’s why I want to play well,” said Brees. “I want to get out there and feel comfortable. This week has been great just to get back out and feel like I’m throwing the ball like I should. Now it’s just time to take it to the game field and go through this final dress rehearsal before the season.”