Two games in five days have earned the Saints players some time off as they will not practice again until Monday morning. Meeting with the media on Friday evening assistant head coach Joe Vitt said the staff however will spend much of the weekend going over personnel evaluations. Here is a sampling of the many things Vitt addressed with reporters.
Coach Vitt was pleased overall in the performance of the team seeing growth in many areas especially on defense.
“I thought we did improve defensively. We played with better pad level. Our decision-making process was better. Our communication on defense was better. The intent to do some of the things that Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) emphasized all week long in practice was there with our gap control, with what we call our match principles,” Vitt evaluated.
“I thought our first unit offensively, our offensive line did a good job. They played with good pad level. They set up a good pocket for Drew Brees. Our starting receivers are our starting receivers. They’re good players who are very productive. We got them some work in there and got them out,” Vitt added that he had not totally finished looking at the rest of the game’s offensive plays. He was also encouraged with the way the coverage units played on both kickoffs and punts.
NICKS AND BRUISES
Vitt has been less than detailed on the injuries his team is currently battling. Friday he gave updates on the status of many players.
WR Nick Toon. He hurt his foot a week ago in practice and hasn’t seen action since. The day of the injury Vitt told reporters he likely would be out six to 10 days. When asked if he would be back this upcoming week the response was, ““No, he probably will be sooner than later, but he will not play this weekend (Jacksonville).”
LB David Hawthorne. Hawthorne has been healing a hip-flexor. He appears as if he could be back on the field this week. “We’re going to run him a little bit on Sunday, see how he’s doing. We think he has the potential to be back on a limited basis or return to practice.
CB Patrick Robinson. “P-Rob” as the starting cornerback is known in the locker room is expected to be full-go when practice resumes next week.
TE Jimmy Graham. Talk about a scare. Graham landed hard on his back while going up for a catch that turned out to be a touchdown while practice against the Patriots last week. He did not play Thursday but will be ready to go come practice this week.
RB Mark Ingram. The second year back is coming off of tow and knee injuries suffered last season and the plan all along was to bring him back slowly. He played last Sunday against Arizona, did not participate in the full practice Tuesday with New England, and did not play Thursday night in the game. He is expected to be ready for the start of the week.
WHAT’S UP WITH DOUBLE-A
Receiver Adrian Arrington or “Double-A” as I call him on the radio show has been well a no-show for a week. He was last seen by media catching a deep pass in last Friday’s practice in Metairie. He wasn’t seen all week in New England as Vitt told reporters he had a possible meniscus injury and was seeking a second opinion. One opinion. Two opinions. Still no answers. The length of time it is taking leads one to believe surgery is being debated.
“From all reports that we get, you never like to see a person like Adrian go down. He has to get some surgery, but Adrian’s been a part of our program now for three years. He’s done a good job for us. I can tell you personally that I’m pulling for him,” Vitt said on Friday. “From an organizational standpoint, we’re pulling for him. He’s put a lot of time off the field into being a good football player. Am I concerned? Sure I’m concerned. In my heart, I kind of know what he knows and I know what he can do. So with a guy like this, there’s just a little bit of leeway. He’s got some pelts that he’s given to us.”
RISE AND SHINE
Saints players were given off Friday night and all of Saturday. Sunday the team will do an install. Monday and Tuesday the team returns to the practice fields in Metairie as training camp concludes following Tuesday's practice. Practice on both days will be outside weather permitting and therefor open to the public. Practice will begin at 8:50 and end at 11:30 a.m.