The start of the regular season is getting closer as the Saints put in their second big day of the work week. Thursday’s focus was third down and working on the two minute drill. Two areas the Saints excelled in last season. “(We) talked all day about converting being a big statistic for us in the past. We were number one in the league offensively (in 2011), so we want to continue that. We worked on that all day today, it was a good day,” said acting head coach Aaron Kromer following practice.

Saints players and coaches all week have expressed how they anticipate the fans making the dome a tough environment for Washington. Thursday it became a flat out directive. “We’re looking for the motivation of the fans. We’re looking for the fans to be motivated by the things that have happened in the offseason,” said Kromer. “I know how they are. I’ve been here long enough now to realize that after a storm that we just had, people are looking for a place to lose all the negative thoughts they have from storms and have a place to be a safe haven, to just have fun and enjoy the team. We hope that motivates our fans to be even more raucous than they already are. We can’t wait to hear them.”


Two Saints did not practice on Thursday. Wide receiver Adrian Arrington was held out due to soreness in his right knee. Arrington missed the preseason games due to a meniscus injury that required surgery. He participated fully on Monday and Wednesday. The other Saints player to miss practice was offensive lineman Marcel Jones who hurt his left knee late in Wednesday’s practice. The seventh-round pick is a backup tackle.

Wide receiver Marques Colston returned to work a day after missing practice as expected albeit on a limited basis. Kromer on Wednesday said he expected Colston would be ready for Sunday’s game. Also practicing on a limited basis was cornerback Jabari Greer. Greer is working his way back from a groin injury suffered early in training camp and should be ready for Sunday.

Linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne both practiced fully. Lofton is dealing with a high ankle sprain but has said all week he’ll be a go for the Redskins. Hawthorne is a nice surprise in that he is also recovering from meniscus surgery in his knee and having him practice fully on Thursday is a good sign he could be ready for the season opener.


So you might think that Sunday will be the first time Saints players have played competitively against Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III. Well it’s not as Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham took him on in a game of Madden. “Funny enough, myself, Jimmy Graham and Tim Tebow played him and a couple of other guys in the Madden Bowl at Super Bowl last year in Indianapolis,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees tells of the video game battle. “We actually beat him on a last second touchdown to Lance Moore. We were the Saints. I can’t remember who they were, but that was fun. It was the first time I met him. I congratulated him on the Heisman. Obviously that was before the draft. We didn’t know he’d be picked up by the Redskins and we’d be opening up against him.”


The Saints will hold a short practice as they put a wrap on the practice portion of preparation. Saturday they’ll go through a light walkthrough and then Sunday open up the regular season at noon against Washington inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.