Brandon Coleman has to bide his time every game.
Deployed as the Saints’ No. 4 receiver, Coleman is never sure when Drew Brees is going to look his way.
Coleman’s job is to make those chances count.
“You’ve just got to stay patient and let things unfold how they do,” Coleman said. “And then be ready when the time presents itself.”
Coleman, a former undrafted free agent out of Rutgers, spent all of last season on the practice squad before breaking out in training camp.
When the season opened, Coleman looked like the No. 3 receiver, but the emergence of another former undrafted free agent, Willie Snead, altered the pecking order.
Coleman is still playing 36.9 percent of the snaps for the Saints, but he’s averaging 12.3 snaps per game over the past three.
“I knew I was going to get into the mix somehow,” Coleman said. “I really didn’t have expectations for how much I was going to contribute to the offense. My goal was just to get into the rotation.”
Coleman’s targets have come few and far between. Being targeted three times against Tennessee snapped a streak of five games where Coleman was targeted just once in each contest.
The big receiver has made big plays when given the chance.
For the season, he’s got 209 yards on 13 catches, averaging a team-best 16.1 yards per catch, and he has a penchant for big plays. A highlight-reel touchdown in the opener. A 30-yard back shoulder to set up a late field goal against Dallas. A 24-yard catch early in a hot start against Indianapolis, and two deep balls against Tennessee last week.
For Coleman, who had to wait his turn to become the featured receiver at Rutgers, too, the key is preparation.
“I’ve been in situations like this before,” Coleman said. “You’ve just got to prepare all week like you’re going to take 60, 70 snaps, whatever they may be.”
And then make whatever chances he gets count.
The stitches Drew Brees received after Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans will likely be covered by the Saints.
But that doesn’t mean David Bass is getting off free.
The Titans linebacker told Tennessee media that he was fined $17,363 for his hit on Brees that caused the Saints quarterback’s cheek to swell and left him requiring a few stitches.
He told reporters that he plans to appeal the fine.
“Still don’t think it was a flag,” Bass told the media. “Steep considering first offense. That is a lot of money.”
Bass was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play. After Bass was flagged, Tennessee linebacker Brian Orakpo was flagged twice for a pair of unsportsmanlike penalties for arguing with the officials. New Orleans eventually scored to take an eight-point lead before losing to the Titans in overtime, 34-28.
Brees said Wednesday that he feels fine following the hit.
The Saints had seven players sit out of Thursday’s practice.
Among the new additions to the list of absentees were Willie Snead, who was limited Wednesday due to a knee injury, and cornerback Keenan Lewis, who sat out due to illness.
Offensive tackle Terron Armstead (knee), linebackers Dannell Ellerbe (hip), David Hawthorne (hamstring) and Ramon Humber (hamstring) and cornerback Damian Swann (concussion).
Linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha (ankle), guard Tim Lelito (shoulder) and cornerback Brian Dixon (hip). Dixon did not practice on Wednesday.
Wide receiver Marques Colston, defensive tackle Kevin Williams and guard Jahri Evans returned after being given Wednesday off.