Saints Morning Briefing, Aug. 20

Things are supposed to be cooler on the North Shore.

That, plus a rare evening practice, should be welcome news for the Saints as they take a break from the routine that their Metairie facility with a special practice at Mandeville High School at 7 PM tonight.

Working in far hotter conditions than they experienced during their three-week stay in West Virginia, or in their two previous sessions back home, one of which was held indoors, the Saints endured a heat index of 101 during their midday practice on Tuesday that stretched for 2 ½ hours.

Tonight’s two-hour practice is not a scrimmage, although Saints Coach Sean Payton has promised that there will be plenty to see as the team goes through what should be a fast-paced workout.

Gates at the stadium open at 5 p.m. and fans who make it to practice in Metairie will be glad to know that there will be three security entrances instead of the usual one that often creates long waits.

The players will sign autographs afterwards and there will be interactive games and other activities.

ABOUT TUESDAY: Safety Jairus Byrd, the Saints’ most-prominent free-agent signee went through his first full practice after undergoing back surgery in the spring. Byrd was aggressive throughout, including an early shot to running back Mark Ingram.

Also Tuesday, Luke McCown in a battle with Ryan Griffin for the backup quarterback job, outdid his young foe in 11 on 11 drills.

ON TODAY’S AGENDA: A two-hour practice under the lights should be conducive to more contact that we’ve seen since the team’s return from training camp.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: First-round draft pick Brandin Cooks has missed the last two days because of illness, but Payton said he expects the rookie wide receiver back. Still no word on cornerback Keenan Lewis who suffered an apparent foot injury in last Friday’s exhibition against Tennessee.