WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Saints quarterback Drew Brees caused a stir Tuesday when he showed up to training camp practice at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia for the first time since sustaining an oblique injury Aug. 1. However, he did not return at 100 percent, sticking to conditioning, refining his footwork and throwing short passes while the rest of the team completed drills.
Meanwhile, veteran Saints CB Champ Bailey also was in full gear after missing several practices, the intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 2 and the preseason win at St. Louis last week. He was back in a fuller capacity than Brees was, participating in walkthroughs and some individual drills. However, he was not in for full-team drills.
Players either not in full pads or not present included FB Erik Lorig, WR Kenny Stills, TE Je'Ron Hamm, RG Jahri Evans, T Ty Nsekhe, LB David Hawthorne, LB Kyle Knox, LB Victor Butler, CB Rod Sweeting and S Ty Zimmerman.
CB Patrick Robinson was in game pants but not shoulder pads and stuck to conditioning. Stills caught passes from Brees at one point. Evans did footwork and agility drills off to the side as well.
Meanwhile, after missing practice Monday, kicker Shayne Graham was back on the field Tuesday.
-With Hawthorne and Knox out, veteran backup Ramon Humber and rookie Khairi Fortt spent plenty of time rotating onto the first-string linebacker corps.
-CB Corey White continues to accumulate nice moments. In an early team drill, he batted away a long pass over the middle from QB Luke McCown to WR Joseph Morgan. He came into camp as a bit of an afterthought despite starting eight total games in 2013 following a season-ending knee injury to former Saints CB Jabari Greer; but through frequent pass break-ups and at a least couple of interceptions, he is at the forefront of the discussion about potentially important contributors in the secondary in 2014.
White later stabbed away a short McCown dump-off over the middle to WR Marques Colston for another pass disruption. McCown may have been sacked on the play if it was a game.
-The first-string offense and defense went back and forth in terms of the rushing game in a team drill. The defense stuffed Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson attempts, but then Pierre Thomas ran up the gut for a long gain. The run offense had success at St. Louis on Friday. The defense had that less so, but they took a step in the positive direction Tuesday in the aforementioned drill.
-After going the opposite way of RB Travaris Cadet and failing to connect on a handoff attempt, backup QB Ryan Griffin redeemed himself by nestling a pass deep down the field into the arms of Nick Toon, whose stride was uninterrupted and who was covered well by rookie CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste. The play was similar to one Jean-Baptiste gave up at St. Louis for a long gain, in which he didn't turn back for the ball.
-Later, Jean-Baptiste broke up a pair of passes working against the first-string offense in a drill. Also in that drill, Morgan caught a pass over the middle from McCown and held onto it after absorbing some pretty hard contact. It was a nice possession catch for a guy that's primarily a deep threat.
-Rookie S Vinnie Sunseri laid out TE Nic Jacobs after Jacobs caught a Griffin pass on an out to the left. Jacobs did well to hold onto it as Sunseri's hit was thundering, and that was a good moment for the tight end after dropping a pass and losing a fumble in a rainy, sloppy practice Monday.
-A steady rain began falling later in practice -- and, as if on cue, a pass slipped through the grasp of All-Pro TE Jimmy Graham for an incompletion.
-The defense had lot of would-be sacks had contact been allowed on the QBs. Among them were ones by Tyrunn Walker and NT Brandon Deaderick. Deaderick has done well jockeying for a backup defensive lineman spot after starting camp relatively slowly.
Another was by Cam Jordan, and a blitz by safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Marcus Ball could've produced another.