METAIRIE - While the New Orleans Saints didn’t have a typical offseason with classroom study, organized team activities and minicamps, things won’t look that much different when they open the preseason Friday night.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he and his staff would get together in meetings Wednesday night to determine who will and won’t play and how the snaps will be distributed against the San Francisco 49ers in the Superdome.
The one thing Payton knew was that his younger players won’t have as many reps under their belts by the time the first game comes because they had less time to get ready.
“That being said, as far as how we play our guys, I don’t think it will be that much different,” Payton said. “We typically look at snaps, not quarters. So numbers can be pretty deceiving.
“We try to get somewhere between the 12- and 17-snap mark,” he said. “There will be a couple of exceptions regarding certain players. When you get into your second phase (second team), you look for a similar pitch-count and then you finish the game.”
Saints cut Clark
The Saints released veteran strongside linebacker Danny Clark on Wednesday and signed former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Jordan Black to add depth to an injury-riddled offensive line.
The Saints practiced for the second straight day without tackles Jon Stinchcomb, Roger Allen and Alex Barron. All were out with knee issues, although Payton said Stinchcomb, the starting right tackle, was being rested.
“One of the things we are looking for, especially this early in camp, is depth at that offensive line position,” Payton said. “We’re trying to rest certain guys. We’re giving Stinchcomb a couple of days here. It allows us the numbers we need.”
Colston still resting
Also resting his surgically-repaired right knee again Wednesday was wide receiver Marques Colston, but Payton said they decided to back off Colston and Stinchcomb with four weeks to go before the regular-season opener.
“Some of these guys that have had offseason surgeries, we are trying to be smart with,” Payton said.
“The swelling has gone down (on Colston’s knee), and we are being cautious with a month still to go.”
Also missing practice were CB Tracy Porter (knee), RB Chris Ivory (foot/sports hernia), DE Greg Romeus (knee), LB Ezra Butler (hamstring), WR Jarred Fayson (ankle), WR Adrian Arrington (ankle), and LB Ramon Humber (quadriceps).
Payton said earlier this week he’s not worried that Porter, who had offseason surgery on his left knee and hasn’t practiced in camp yet, won’t be ready for the Sept. 8 season-opener against Green Bay.
“I think we’re on schedule with him, so I feel pretty good (about it),” Payton said. “We are going to see him, hopefully, by the Houston weekend - if not, the Monday after the Houston week (Aug. 20). There is nothing surprising about where he is at right now.
“We are on schedule. The Monday after that (Houston) game, the week after that game, our plan is to get him going.”
After their first contact drills of training camp at the end of Tuesday’s practice, which consisted of three plays starting from the 9-yard line, Drew Brees talked about how competitive it gets even though it’s a practice.
“That’s the scoring zone, that’s what it’s all about,” Brees said. “You have to score touchdowns on offense, and defensively, you have to hold them to a field goal. They’ve got something we want and vice-versa.”
“You do a couple periods and there is a lot of jawing,” he said. “Full go for four plays. You score, you win. You don’t, you lose.”
For the record, the offense won when rookie running back Mark Ingram bowled over strong safety Roman Harper at the 1 and got to the end zone.
Running the two-minute drill for the first time in camp, Brees reacted quickly when defensive end Alex Brown jumped up and batted a pass back in his face. Brees alertly caught the ball and ran around the left side for a 9-yard gain. ? In a 7-on-7 drill, Brees threw a high pass down the middle that 5-foot-9 WR Lance Moore went up and snared between two defenders. ? Finally, Brees was in on the play of the day when, as the clock ran out, he rolled left and lobbed a pass that 6-6 tight end Jimmy Graham went up and caught between cornerbacks Patrick Robinson and Leigh Torrence for a touchdown. Graham got up and emphatically spiked the ball.
Payton appeared as a guest on the “Jim Rome is Burning Show” just before practice Wednesday. ? Former Saints guard Brad Edelman will visit with fans at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum before the 49ers game Friday. Edelman will be available for photos and autographs at the museum, which is located at Gate B on the Plaza Level of the Superdome from 5-6:15 p.m. ? The Hall of Fame is open three hours before and 45 minutes after each home game and is free to Saints ticket holders.