Saints daily briefing: Sunday (Aug. 17)

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Saints gear up at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia for the first portion of training camp from July 25 to Aug. 13, you’ll have a chance to see them up close when they return to their headquarters in Metairie for an afternoon practice Sunday.

Practice will run from 4 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. at 5800 Airline Drive, and it will be open as long as weather permits. It’ll be a considerably hotter affair than the workouts the Saints had amidst the cool temperatures of the Allegheny Mountains; but, after being whistled for 22 penalties in their 31-24 win over the Tennessee Titans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Friday night, maybe the tougher conditions are apt.

THE LAST TIME WE SAW THEM: Though the shocking number of penalties soured the mood of Saints coach Sean Payton, who called the Titans game “obviously ... hard to watch,” the defense should take some comfort in the fact that it created five takeaways en route to the win. Throughout offseason and training camp, the Saints have emphasized creating turnovers and staying ready to pounce on them — each time a ball hits the ground, even on an incomplete pass, players and coaches scream, “Ball! Ball! Ball!” and it’s up to the defender closest to it to scoop it up and run with it.

Furthermore, in their battle to see who deserves to be the understudy to starter Drew Brees, backup quarterbacks Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin showed Friday they have different assets to offer the Saints as they decide who to anoint No. 2. McCown (12-for-20 passing for 117 yards and two touchdowns) picked apart the defense the Titans presented him; and Griffin (13-of-19 for 179 yards and two TDs) aired it out, picking up yards in bunches, such as when he connected with wide receiver Joseph Morgan for gains of 52 and 44 on separate throws.

McCown kept pace in a backup race he seemingly fell behind in during an exhibition win at St. Louis on Aug. 8, when he was a pedestrian 7-for-10 for 49 yards and an interception and saw Griffin go 16-of-23 for 179 yards and a touchdown. On Friday, McCown said a dislocated pinky he sustained prior to the game in St. Louis affected the approach to that contest as it concerned him.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Sunday marks six days before the Saints visit the Indianapolis Colts in their third preseason game, when teams’ regulars see the most action before the start of the regular campaign. Perhaps the most important thing to watch will be if Brees returns to practice for the first time since straining his left oblique Aug. 1 — that’ll be a strong indication as to how healthy he is and whether he’ll be a go for the most important preseason game this year.

The same applies for players such as wide receiver Kenny Stills (quad), cornerback Champ Bailey (undisclosed), right guard Jahri Evans (undisclosed), left guard Ben Grubbs (back), fullback Erik Lorig (leg), linebacker Victor Butler (undisclosed) and wide receiver Marques Colston (undisclosed), who all missed the Titans game. And the same is also true for cornerback Keenan Lewis and rookie linebacker Khairi Fortt, who left the Titans game early with injuries.

Meanwhile, Payton vowed the Saints on Sunday would begin a full-fledged effort to eradicate the mental lapses that fueled a 10-penalty performance in St. Louis as well as the abomination on Friday.

“I can’t recall ever a game with that many penalties,” Payton said. “And here is the thing: most of the ones I saw were good calls, so this isn’t about a crew calling a lot of penalties — this is about something I have to do a better job with.

“I have to do a better job in that area, and it will start on Sunday.”