The New Orleans Saints were encouraged by the presence Jairus Byrd, Keenan Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe brought to the defense on Sunday night.
Now that the trio is back in the lineup, the Saints will begin to increase the workload for all three players.
New Orleans limited their involvement in order to fulfill the first priority: Getting Byrd, Lewis and Ellerbe back into football shape.
“It was good, obviously, to have all those guys get back into a role,” Payton said. “I would say from a snap-count standpoint, they played pretty much what we had hoped for, a little bit more in the nickel and sub-packages than the base.”
Byrd played 37 snaps at free safety, Ellerbe played 19 snaps in coverage situations as a linebacker and Lewis added 18, although he briefly left the game after his first few snaps before returning to the sideline.
Byrd, the prize free agent acquisition seeing his first action since tearing his meniscus last October, made four tackles and looked aggressive in run support. Ellerbe added a tackle and helped hold the Cowboys running backs without a catch one week after Lance Dunbar caught 10 passes against the Cowboys.
“All those guys, I think, did some good things, I thought Jairus did some real good things,” Payton said. “They got their first game back, if you will, coming off the injury, so it will be good to build off of that.”