With the NFL trade deadline looming Tuesday, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday his team probably won’t be involved in any deals.
The subject came up in his daily news conference when Payton was asked if he felt confident in how his 53-man active roster stacks up going into Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“You could have cut through the chase and asked if we were interested in making any trades,” he said. “I don’t foresee us being involved in that, and yet, you could say that window always remains open if there was another team (interested).
“But I don’t foresee that as something we’re involved in right now. It’s no certainty, but that would be my take on it now.”
Ivory ready to go
Payton may have to make a roster move soon, however, when running back Chris Ivory comes off the physically-unable-to-perform list.
Ivory, who wasn’t ready to go in training camp as he tried to recover from a Lisfranc fracture of his foot, also had sports hernia surgery in early August and was put on PUP when final roster cuts were made.
Players on PUP must sit out at least six games and are eligible to practice on the day after the sixth game, which comes Sunday for the Saints.
Payton said two weeks ago that Ivory, a second-year pro, was ready.
Once he begins practicing, the Saints will have three weeks to activate him, leave him on PUP for the rest of the season, or release him.
Wide receiver Devery Henderson returned to practice Thursday and had full participation after sitting out Wednesday’s workout with a calf injury.
Not working Thursday were tackle Zach Strief (knee), tight end David Thomas (concussion) and strongside linebacker Will Herring (hamstring).
Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma (knee) also worked full Thursday after being limited on Wednesday, while strongside linebacker Martez Wilson (shoulder) was able to participate fully for the second day in a row.
For the Bucs, running back LeGarrette Blount (knee) and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day and will likely be questionable at best for Sunday.
Payton said tight end David Thomas has made some progress from the concussion he suffered in a Sept. 25 game against the Houston Texans, but still has some sensitivity to light.
“I would say he turned the corner a little bit,” Payton said of Thomas, who will likely miss his third straight game Sunday. “I think that happened at the early part of this week. That being said, we along with outside doctors want to make sure it’s 100 percent.”
Brees seeks a first
Saints quarterback Drew Brees can become the first player in NFL history to have four consecutive 350-yard passing games if he reaches that mark on Sunday against the Bucs.
Brees piled up 370 yards in a Week 3 win over Houston, then had a 351-yard day the following week against Jacksonville. Last week, Brees kept the streak going with 359 yards against Carolina.
Brees has 1,769 yards through the first five games.
Road teams rule
The visiting team has won the past four meetings between the Saints and Bucs dating to the 2009 season.
The Saints rocked the Bucs in Raymond James Stadium in their last two trips there, winning 38-7 in 2009 and 31-6 a year ago. The Bucs won in the recently renamed Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 20-17 in overtime in 2009, and 23-13 in December.
Payton said he hasn’t heard anything specific from the NFL about a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty against defensive end Turk McBride in Sunday’s game against the Panthers.
McBride hit quarterback Cam Newton just as he delivered the ball on a third-and-5 play from the Panthers’ 36 in the third quarter, causing the ball to fall incomplete. Referee John Parry flagged McBride, however, and the 15-yard penalty allowed the drive to continue and led to a touchdown.
“We just want to make sure that we’re always trying to educate our guys as to what looks legal,” Payton said. “I think the only potential issue is if the right hand got near the chin or the cheek or the facemask area.”
“A lot of the symptoms have gone away and it’s just the sensitivity to a little light, just some things he’s working through. I would say the early part of this week was a turning point for him. That’s good news.”