METAIRIE - After having to deal with an injury list that ballooned to double digits the final three weeks of training camp, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton listed only four players on his practice participation report Monday.
Monday was the first day Payton was required to submit injury information to the NFL, and the list was much shorter as the team had its second day of practice for Thursday night’s season opener with the Green Bay Packers.
Payton said kicker Garrett Hartley (hip) and wide receivers Lance Moore (groin) and Adrian Arrington (knee) were the only players who didn’t work, while defensive tackle Tom Johnson (calf) was limited.
Hartley won’t play against the Packers.
For the Packers, cornerback Davon House (ankle) and linebacker Frank Zombo (shoulder) didn’t practice. Tight end Jermichael Finley (ankle) and defensive end Mike Neal (knee) had limited participation.
The Saints signed veteran tight end John Gilmore and had him dressed out and on the practice field Monday.
Gilmore, who was cut Saturday by the Pittsburgh Steelers, is a 10-year veteran who is known more for his blocking skills. In six seasons with the Chicago Bears and three with the Tampa Bay Bucs, he caught just 52 passes.
A 6-foot-5, 257-pounder, Gilmore actually began his NFL career as a sixth-round draft pick of the Saints in 2002. He was cut at the end of training camp, however, and was claimed off waivers by the Bears.
The Saints waived reserve linebacker and special teams standout Ramon Humber to make room on the 53-man roster for Gilmore, who will play behind starters Jimmy Graham and David Thomas.
Practice squad update
The Saints also made some moves with their eight-man practice squad.
Released were quarterback Sean Canfield, center Cecil Newton and long snapper Kyle Nelson. They were replaced by tackle William Robinson, guard Dennis Landolt and wide receiver Montez Billings.
Billings was with the Saints throughout training camp and was among the final roster cuts this weekend.
McCarthy on Flynn
On a conference call with reporters Sunday afternoon, Packers coach Mike McCarthy talked about the growth of backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Flynn, a former LSU standout who led the Tigers to the BCS title in 2007, is ready to begin his fourth season with the club as the backup to Super Bowl XLV most valuable player Aaron Rodgers.
“I think Matt’s done an excellent job in his time here; you just see him grow each and every year,” said McCarthy, the Saints’ offensive coordinator from 2000-04.
“He’s a very instinctive football player and he’s in command of the offense. He had an opportunity to play against Detroit and New England (in 2010). In the game plan against New England, we game planned the same way that we always do with Aaron (Rodgers), so I think that’s a real compliment to the way we feel about Matt Flynn.”
Lombardi in the house
After talking Monday about the great history of the Packers and Thursday night’s matchup in Lambeau Field, Payton was asked if he had ever met legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
“No,” Payton said while breaking into a smile, “but I’ve met his grandson.”
Joe Lombardi, a grandson of the legendary Packers coach, is beginning his third season as the Saints’ quarterbacks coach and fifth season overall on Payton’s staff.