Joe Morgan makes presence felt in Saints receiving corps _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Joe Morgan is going to make it difficult for the Saints to move in a different direction.

The team suspended him last season and then cut him. He came back this offseason, and despite several other receivers being brought in, it seems like no one can push him out. If Wednesday’s practice against the Patriots can be taken as a true barometer, he appears to be the No. 4 receiver on the depth chart, which would put him on the right side of the roster equation.

“There are a lot of things he can do and do well,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “I really love his mindset coming into this camp. He has great body language, a lot of confidence, doing some really good things in the passing game and the run game, just all around.

“(He’s) coming every day with a level of consistency that he has been missing in the past. I have been very pleased with him.”

Morgan caught both of the passes thrown to him during practice. The second one, which was a deep pass over New England cornerback Malcolm Butler down the left sideline, was his most impressive moment.

If camp were to break today, it appears Morgan would be below only Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks and Brandon Coleman on the depth chart. Josh Morgan appeared to be the No. 5 receiver, and Nick Toon was sixth.

Of course, a lot can change over the next several weeks, but Joe Morgan appears to be in a good spot.

One thing that could help him is his ability as a blocker. That trait helped Robert Meachem win a job last year, and it could give Joe Morgan an edge over some others.

Brees in

Brees should be back in action Saturday against New England.

The quarterback said he expects to play about a quarter against the Patriots after sitting out last week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

“If you go back in history with us, it’s typically a quarter or a quarter and a half,” Brees said. “You see how things go, and you see how many plays we get in that amount of time. Kind of take it as it comes.”

With Brees in the unfamiliar position of wearing a headset on the sideline, the Saints’ three backups got a lot of work, all with solid results.

Luke McCown finished 7-of-10, Ryan Griffin completed 10-of-17, and Garrett Grayson opened some eyes with an 8-of-12 performance.

Watson back

Ben Watson flew home Friday to be there for the birth of his fifth child, a daughter named Eden Moriah.

Four days later, Watson returned to the practice fields at The Greenbrier, with only a few days left before the Saints break camp in West Virginia and return to Metairie full time.

“It was good to get away,” Watson said. “You can’t replace that. As you know, babies grow. By the time we get back on Saturday, she’s going to look totally different than she did yesterday.”

Watson caught four passes during Wednesday’s practice.

Smith returns

The shuffling at tight end continues.

The Saints placed tight end Kevin Brock on injured reserve Wednesday and brought back Alex Smith, who was released earlier this week.

Brock was knocked out of Tuesday’s practice during positional drills and had to be carted from the sidelines. He was signed by New Orleans in late July.

Smith was released earlier this week and replaced by former third-round pick Michael Egnew.

PARTING SHOTS

Five observations from the practice field:

1. Drew Brees completed 16-of-22 passes during Wednesday’s practice against the Patriots. He looked sharp and was given ample time by the line.

2. Cornerbacks Keenan Lewis, Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux did not practice. Still, the defense performed well against the Patriots until they went no-huddle. Tom Brady then completed seven of his last nine passes.

3. Defensive end Cam Jordan had a big day, picking up two sacks. Defensvie end Akeim Hicks picked up a coverage sack after Brady was forced to hold the ball for 3.31 seconds.

4. Rookie cornerback P.J. Williams saw extended action after missing some time earlier in camp. He needs to do a better job covering shorter routes.

5. Brandon Coleman was the clear No. 3 receiver. He might have a leg up on Nick Toon.

-- Nick Underhill