WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — The young cornerbacks on the New Orleans roster are in for plenty of snaps against the Patriots.
The Saints’ top five players in the secondary — cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Brandon Browner, safeties Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro, and nickel Delvin Breaux — are all unavailable for Wednesday’s practice against New England.
Lewis, Vaccaro and Breaux are all present at practice, indicating they might be back very quickly. Byrd has not practiced in training camp yet as he rehabs his knee, and the right leg injury suffered by Browner is not expected to be serious in the long term.
Veteran safety Jamarca Sanford is also on his way back, going through limited drills with the team while wearing a wrap on his right arm.
“It’s training camp, though. That happens,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “It’d be more concerning if it were Week 3 and all five were out.”
New Orleans is also thin at linebacker right now, where Dannell Ellerbe (toe) and Ramon Humber haven’t practiced this week but aren’t facing serious issues, according to sources.
Outside linebacker Ronald Powell and rusher Anthony Spencer have both been unavailable all week for undisclosed reasons.
On offense, guard Cyril Lemon and tight end Kevin Brock are both out, although Lemon is on the field and riding a stationary bike.
Running back C.J. Spiller remains out after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee, with the Saints targeting a Week 1 return.
Despite all of the injuries, Payton says it’s typical for this time of year.
“We’re going to have days when guys can’t practice,” Payton said. “Hopefully, we have more of them out there, and the guys that are nicked up will get back soon.”