|Saints RB Mark Ingram is expected to play against the Raiders on Sunday (Photo: Parker Waters).|
The New Orleans Saints continued their work in Oxnard, California. One key young player didn't participate Wednesday but will be back in action soon.
Despite an mild knee injury to running back Mark Ingram, head coach Sean Payton said the first-round draft pick will likely return to practice Thursday and play on Sunday at Oakland. Ingram missed practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with his sore knee. Carl Nicks also missed the workout due to a knee problem.
- Sean Payton Post-Practice Q&A
- QB Drew Brees Post-Practice Q&A
- RB Pierre Thomas Post-Practice Q&A
- S Malcolm Jenkins Post-Practice Q&A
Others missing the practice included wide receiver Jarred Fayson, guard Roger Allen, running backs Chris Ivory and Chris Taylor, linebackers Will Herring and Clint Ingram, along with defensive tackles Aubrayo Franklin, Tom Johnson and Mitch King, defensive ends Jeff Charleston, Junior Galette and Greg Romeus, defensive backs Johnny Patrick and Fabian Washington.
Rookie Martez Wilson is getting more reps at strongside linebacker and Payton said that he will get a lot of snaps against the Raiders as the Saints continue to search for starters and final rosters at the outside linebacker positions.
Payton said his team was a little sharper Wednesday than it was on Tuesday. He continued to lavish praise on the overall experience in Oxnard.
Drew Brees called the setup in Oxnard "perfect" due to the weather and the ability to focus exclusively on football. Pierre Thomas praised the weather as well and echoed Brees' thoughts on Oxnard being a good escape to help the players and coaches come together as a team. Thomas also indicated that there are times where we may see he and Darren Sproles on the field offensively at the same time. Malcolm Jenkins said the tempo has been faster with more collisions.
Roman Harper and Patrick Robinson had interceptions of Brees in Wednesday's practice.
For the Raiders, starting tight end Kevin Boss is expected to miss Sunday's game with the Saints due to a knee injury.
Perhaps there is good karma to the Saints playing at Oakland in the third week of the preseason.
On August 29,2009, the Saints belted the Raiders 45-7 at Oakland in week three of the preseason. In that game, Brees riddled the Raiders, completing 14-of-17 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns in less than one half of play as the Saints improved to 3-0 in the preseason.
Brees guided the Saints to touchdowns on their first three possessions and left the game earlier than expected due to the level of success he and the offense enjoyed. The Saints led 31-0 at halftime and amassed 344 yards in the first half.
The Saints went on to win the Super Bowl.
Remember JaMarcus Russell? The former first-round pick out of LSU was the
Oakland starter that night. He is out of the league now.
As for Oakland third-round Supplemental Draft pick Terrelle Pryor, he has yet to sign a contract with the Raiders. Jason Campbell is the Raiders' starting quarterback. Campbell returned to practice Wednesday after suffering a blow to the head and having to depart prior to halftime in last Saturday's 17-3 loss at San Francisco. He is expected to start against the Saints.
Starters typically play at least a half in the third preseason game before shutting it down in the final preseason game to remain healthy and prepare for the season opener. The Saints open the NFL season at Green Bay against the World Champion Packers in a matchup of the last two Super Bowl champions on Thursday, September 8.
The Saints return to practice Thursday at Oxnard in preparation for Sunday night's 7 p.m. contest.
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