When Ryan Griffin pulled off his pads Friday night to talk to the media, he revealed his old Tulane workout shirt underneath.
Perfect for the setting.
New Orleans practiced in front of 3,507 fans at Yulman Stadium, a spot that looked quite a bit different when Griffin was at the controls of the Green Wave offense.
“Saw some old teammates in the stands — that’s kind of weird,” Griffin said. “And then coming out here — this is where we practiced — I’ve come out to Tulane practices, but being out here myself, being able to throw the ball around, it was pretty nice.”
The Saints made the final decision to practice at Yulman, which opened last season, within the past week, setting up an opportunity to connect with fans. The practice might not have matched the 6,617 fans that came to Mandeville High last year, but the atmosphere matched what the Saints were hoping to get.
“This is the first time for me being in the stadium,” coach Sean Payton said. “It’s a great setup, a good feel, especially on a Friday night.”
Division of labor
Drew Brees will not see many snaps this week against the Houston Texans.
Following Friday’s practice, Payton said his quarterback will only play a handful of downs.
“You aren’t going to see three quarters like back in ’06 and ’07, those early years,” Payton said. “We’ll get him some work and then get into our rotation.”
Payton said the plan is to have Luke McCown enter the game after Brees. Griffin and Garrett Grayson will handle the second half.
The Saints haven’t had a consistent approach for how to use Brees in the third preseason game in recent years. Last season, he played 28 snaps, which carried him deep into the first quarter. In 2013, he played only 11 snaps, but an inefficient offense allowed him to play into the second quarter. In 2012, he logged 37 snaps, which lasted two quarters.
Given that Brees completed 8 of 10 passes during last week’s game against the New England Patriots, Payton likely feels confident in Brees.
The list of Saints available for practice remained the same.
Cornerback Brandon Browner has been on the field but not wearing pads. Browner has been on the sideline for practice most of the week, although he’s not ready to play yet.
C.J. Spiller, Jairus Byrd, Khiry Robinson, P.J. Williams, Ronald Powell, Dannell Ellerbe, Nick Toon and Anthony Spencer remained unavailable.