The Saints are using the preseason to find the best routines for the coaching staff during the season.
During the first preseason game, the team had linebackers coach Joe Vitt on the sideline and defensive assistant Dennis Allen in the press box. During the second game, Allen came down to the sideline and Vitt moved up to the box.
It’s likely the team will continue moving people around this week against the Houston Texans to determine the best configuration. Those involved are open to trying out new things.
“We actually switched around all our coaches,” Vitt said. “Sean (Payton) is doing everything he can to make sure we’re crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s and evaluating everything that we’re doing.
“So I spent a week in the press box last week trying to look at the review monitors and see if we can get a better way to identify personnel coming in the game defensively, how many more sets we’re going to need.”
On offense, as he did last season, Payton has also allowed offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael to call plays.
For the players, the tinkering has not had a major impact. No matter who is on the sideline or calling plays, they simply take direction and try to execute what they’re being told to do.
“Not at all. We make adjustments during the game,” safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “You don’t freak out. We watch the tape after the game. We don’t really do too much. They kind of motivate us, give us tips or clues, but when we’re out there we’re on our own.”
Come get your money
The Saints are attempting to avoid paying the guaranteed money owed to former pass rusher Junior Galette.
The Saints claim Galette voided the guarantee on his base $1.25 million salary by violating the “rep and warranty language” in his contract, a source said.
Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo first reported the Saints were moving to void Galette’s guarantees.
The Saints declined to comment.
Galette was released by the Saints last month and recently signed with the Washington Redskins. He tore his Achilles tendon during Wednesday’s practice, the NFL Network reported.
The Saints were still on the hook for the $1.25 million base salary because it was guaranteed for skill, injury and cap. New Orleans paid $12.5 million to Galette during the spring before he was released.
Galette, however, was released following a string of off-field incidents. He was arrested for domestic violence in January, but the charge was later dropped by prosecutors.
A video then emerged of a 2013 beach brawl that showed a man who resembles Galette striking a woman with a belt. The Saints turned the video over to the NFL.
The Saints have not yet seen their complete secondary on the field at the same time, with safety Jairus Byrd and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Keenan Lewis nursing injuries, but the team is not yet concerned.
Vaccaro is confident the group got enough reps together during the offseason and said they are still putting in work behind the scenes to become a cohesive unit.
“(With) Byrd, we got a whole offseason of OTAs in. Browner, we know he can ball; he’s the vocal leader of our group,” Vaccaro said. “I’m really not worried about those guys. They’re proven in this league for a long time.”
Five observations from the practice field:
1. Coach Sean Payton wasn’t in attendance at practice. Linebackers coach Joe Vitt took control of the session so that Payton could escort his daughter, Meghan, to college.
2. WR Lance Lewis dropped a pass on a deep route from Garrett Grayson. Those are the kind of mistakes a player on the bubble cannot make.
3. CB Brian Dixon continues to play well. After breaking up a few passes on Tuesday, he added another on Wednesday. Once considered out of the race, he’s fighting his way back in.
4. WR Joe Morgan made two deep receptions. Those are the plays he has to make if he wants to make the team and separate from the thick WR battle.
5. S Pierre Warren once again received reps with the first-team defense. He could be climbing up the depth chart.