Andrus Peat ‘happy to step in at guard;’ Benjamin Watson nominated for Walter Payton Man of the Year _lowres

Advocate file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints tackle Andrus Peat

Andrus Peat doesn’t see himself playing at guard down the road.

But it’s fine for now. It’s a way for the first-round pick to get on the field and gain some experience, and right now this is his only path to achieving those things.

“I’m hoping to play tackle because I feel like that’s my position,” Peat said. “But right now I’m happy to step in at guard and get on the field and get experience and play where my coaches want to play right now.”

Peat started at guard during Sunday’s 24-6 loss to the Houston Texans. He had mixed results.

The rookie allowed four hurries, one quarterback hit and a sack. The sack came at the hands of Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, who had his way with nearly everyone he lined up against on Sunday.

Peat admits he had his hands full the few times he lined up against Watt, but called it a good experience.

“It’s always good experience going against the best, so I can learn from that,” he said.

Peat said he was at guard again during Wednesday’s practice, though he said he has not been told what the plan is for him this week against the Carolina Panthers.

For now, he’s trying to pick up the new techniques he needs to employ at guard and settle into the position.

“Inside you have to throw your hands quicker, as opposed to tackle you’re taking a couple kicks and throwing your hands,” Peat said. “At guard you’re taking one kick and hands have to go on the guy.”

Man of the Year

The New Orleans Saints have nominated veteran tight end Benjamin Watson for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award recognizes an NFL player for excellence on and off the field, and each team nominates one player for their work in the community.

Watson, who has spent the year touring the country to speak about the issue of racial reconciliation and recently published a book, “Under Our Skin,” about the topic of race relations in America, fit the bill for the Saints.

For the season, the 34-year-old Watson already has 50 catches for 604 yards, the second-highest catch and third-highest yardage total of his career to this point.

By being nominated, Watson earned a $5,000 donation to a charity of his choice from Nationwide and the NFL Foundation.

The Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award will be selected by a panel that includes Payton’s wife, Connie, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, former NFL stars Anthony Munoz and LaDainian Tomlinson and 2014 winner Thomas Davis.

The panel will whittle the initial pool of 32 down to three in January, and then the winner will be announced on the NFL Honors awards show the night before Super Bowl 50.

Sundancin’

Former Saint and tireless ALS fighter Steve Gleason’s story will be featured at one of the world’s most prestigious film festivals this January.

“Gleason,” a feature-length documentary about the former Saints special teamer’s fight against ALS, has been accepted into the Sundance Film Festival, held Jan. 21-31 in Park City, Utah.

The documentary, which grew out of Gleason’s video journals to his son, Rivers, will be screened for thousands of reviewers and movie-watchers, and playing at Sundance often allows a movie to get a wider audience on release.

“The hope is that this film will be a catalyst for positive change and choices for those who face major challenges in life,” Gleason said in a statement released on the website for his foundation, Team Gleason. “Thanks to my extraordinary family, friends, “film guys”, as well as talented director J. Clay Tweel, that this story will be told. If there is a takeaway, we believe those who watch might think differently about life, love and family.”

Injury report

Four New Orleans Saints missed practice with previously unknown injuries, in addition to three other players who missed practice and come back.

Right guard Jahri Evans (ankle), safety Jamarca Sanford (hip), wide receiver Willie Snead (quadricep) and nose tackle John Jenkins (concussion) were all held out of practice.

Left tackle Terron Armstead (knee), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip) have both missed practices with their injuries before, and wide receiver Marques Colston (not injury related) was given what has become a customary veteran’s day off.

In good news, the Saints appear to be close to getting back weak-side linebacker David Hawthorne (hamstring) and cornerback Damian Swann (concussion), who were both limited.

Hawthorne has missed the last four of five games with the hamstring, and Swann has missed the last two games.

Mark Ingram (shoulder) and linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha (ankle) both practiced in full.