It was Wednesday for the Saints in terms of their weekly preparation for their next opponent. That is typically the day the team puts in the bulk of their game plan. ““We had real good work today. We are on our regular season schedule as far as the Texans go now, so today was a first and second down install,” Assistant head coach Joe Vitt said following practice on Tuesday.
Saints fans are probably tired of the injury bug and his appetite as of late but Tuesday found a pair of players getting closer to full health and another saying that he’ll be ready for the season opener.
Running back Darren Sproles was fully dressed Tuesday after not practicing at all last week and missing the Jacksonville game with a sore knee. Defensive end Turk McBride has been nursing a hurt ankle and he was fully dressed Tuesday as well.
“I think that if this was a regular season game, both players would go this week,” Vitt said of the likelihood bother players could miss Saturday’s game. “Darren has been running real well in his rehab. Turk has been doing a good job with his running. They were both introduced today to the individual periods. They were non-contact. I think they are coming along a little faster than we thought.”
Sproles was arguably the single biggest free agent pick up last season as he rushed for 603 yards, had 710 receiving yards and 1089 yards in return yardage. Do the math. He was important. McBride has been battling Junior Galette as the defensive end that could start in place of Will Smith while he serves his four game suspension.
LOFTON A GO IF NEEDED
Saints fans no doubt will be happy to know that a key off season pickup for the team middle linebacker Curtis Lofton would be ready to go if the game this weekend were a regular season game.
“I’m feeling good,” Lofton told reporters Tuesday in the locker room. “Just doing what I’m told. Just taking care of it. It’s still preseason so it’s still early. But once Week 1 rolls around, I’ll be ready to go.”
Lofton suffered a high ankle sprain Friday against Jacksonville on the fifth play of the game but continued to play around 25 additional plays on the injured ankle. "It's just disappointing. You put in all of the work in the offseason. Preseason is almost done and you get hurt with an injury like this, it kind of sets you back a little bit,” Lofton said.
“We're staying positive. We know in the long run that I haven't missed a game in my entire career. I don't plan on missing any yet."
Lofton has shown he can suck it up if you will as he sustained a similar injury in Atlanta last season prior to the end of the season. Lofton played the final three games injured. "Physically, it slows me down just a little bit," details Lofton. "Mentally, I'm still in all of the meetings and going out to practice and watching all of the practice film and pushing myself mentally to get ready to go."
WHERE THE RUUD ARE U
Monday evening the Saints traded for linebacker Barrett Ruud from Seattle for a future undisclosed draft pick. So what’s the skinny on Ruud (pronounced RUDE in case you were wondering)? Well he was a six-year starter with Tampa Bay from 2005-2010 starting 68 games, leading the Bucs in tackles from 07-10. The 29-year old started nine games with the Titans last season and signed with Seattle this past offseason. Well Ruud underwent offseason surgeries on his shoulder and groin, and missed the preseason opener against Tennessee with a sore knee but did play against Denver last week.
Tuesday Ruud did not practice because he had to take a physical which he passed and will practice with the team on Wednesday. “He is a guy that I personally worked out when he was in college. I think he has a real good feel for the game,” said assistant head coach Joe Vitt Tuesday of Ruud. “He has played at a high level in this league. He has played on some of the top defenses in this league. He’s 29 years old, so he still has a lot of football ahead of him. We will introduce him to our system and see where he can get to by this weekend.”
Ramon Humber will be the starting middle linebacker in the game Saturday against the Texans but he is due to serve a three game suspension at the start of the season. The likely hope for Ruud is that he can provide a little depth for the Saints to get them through the preseason buying time for Curtis Lofton to recover from his high ankle sprain and for when Humber is off in suspension land.
There was a new addition to the team’s injury list with cornerback Marquis Johnson making the list. Johnson practiced Monday but was sat out Tuesday due to swelling in his knee.
The rest of the injured Saints list Curtis Lofton (ankle), linebacker David Hawthorne (knee), receiver Andy Tanner (ankle), receiver Adrian Arrington (knee), receiver Nick Toon (foot), defensive tackle Tom Johnson (ankle), cornerback Kammal Mcllwain (groin) and cornerback Jabari Greer (sports hernia).