C.J. Spiller is not willing to offer any clues about when he’s coming back.
He’s practicing for the first time since having a minor procedure performed on his knee in August, and says he feels good, but the running back is unwilling to commit to a timetable or say if he thinks he’ll be able to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We’re taking it one day at a time, we’re not gonna rush things, so we’ll see,” Spiller said.
Spiller also warned not to make the assumption that he’s hiding out or being coy so he can surprise the Bucs on Sunday. That’s not his style.
“I ain’t into surprises. I don’t surprise nobody,” Spiller said. “I want you to see me coming full speed. It ain’t Halloween, baby. Trick or Treat: I’m coming full speed at ya. Trust me, you’ll know when 28 out there.”
But right now it’s hard to see Spiller coming. He’s looked good during the portions of practice that are open to the media this week. Though, he’s been limited in each session. If it doesn’t happen this week, Spiller should be back on the field sooner than later.
When that time comes, he says he’ll be ready to hit the ground running. He stayed sharp during his time down by attending meetings and studying whenever he could.
“It wasn’t like I was just sitting on the couch eating potato chips,” Spiller said. “I was in the playbook, I was watching film. I was staying there mentally. Obviously I wasn’t in the huddle hearing the play call. That’s the only thing that is negative.”
When Spiller comes back, he should be the primary receiving back. Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson split those duties in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.
Spiller was impressed with how the duo performed.
“They ain’t stealing my plays. They’re my guys, they’re my brothers,” Spiller said. “Any time the ball touches a running back’s hands in our room, I’m excited.
Mouths to feed
The Saints plan to use Joe Morgan this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Speaking on a conference call Thursday morning, New Orleans coach Sean Payton explained that Morgan was brought back to run vertical routes, noting that Morgan provides “great speed on the outside,” and help serve as a blocker.
“If you’re just running (Brandin) Cooks vertical, at some point he gets tired,” Payton said. “So having Joe, there’s another element of speed. He’ll play in this game. He’ll have a role.”
The return of Morgan does not mean Willie Snead will be marginalized this week against Tampa Bay.
In fact, Snead believes it means the opposite.
“The game plan has me in the rotation a lot more this week,” Snead said. “I’m pretty excited about the opportunity that’s coming. Coach Payton has a lot of confidence in the guys in the room, especially me, too. It feels good to know I’m going to be used a lot in this game.”
New Orleans’ injury report did not change from Wednesday to Thursday.
Spiller, who met with the media on Thursday, was still limited in practice.
Safety Jairus Byrd, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and cornerback Keenan Lewis were all held out. Ellerbe, who is battling a toe injury, was at practice and wearing pads for the second straight day. Lewis was also present, but Byrd was not seen during the open portion of practice.