It’s a good thing the New Orleans Saints have a week of extended training camp coming up. It’s also a good thing Sean Payton decided to hold that extra week of camp in Oxnard, Calif., where a cool breeze sweeps off the Pacific Ocean.
The thought of a hard week of work in the heat of Metairie, with Payton still steaming from Saturday’s 27-14 loss to the Houston Texans, might be too much to bear.
While a preseason loss isn’t the end of the world, Payton will get to the bottom of that shoddy performance with the regular-season opener just 17 days away.
Payton will be eyeing the first cut from 90 to 75 players on Aug. 30, so it’ll be an important week for players who haven’t shown much in camp — or for those who must redeem themselves.
With that in mind, here’s a guess at how the roster will shape up when it’s reduced to 53 players on Sept. 3:
QUARTERBACKS (2): Drew Brees, Chase Daniel.
There’s no question here, unless Daniel follows a shaky outing against the Texans with another one.
RUNNING BACKS (5): Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, Joique Bell, Jed Collins (fullback).
Chris Ivory, recovering from a foot injury and sports hernia surgery, is likely to start the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
WIDE RECEIVERS (5): Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Courtney Roby.
The first four are a given, unless the Saints try to create some cap room by dumping Henderson. Joseph Morgan is likely ticketed for the practice squad.
TIGHT ENDS (3): Jimmy Graham, David Thomas, Tory Humphrey.
Humphrey wins the third spot, although it wouldn’t be a shock if the Saints made a move to replace him via the waiver wire.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Jermon Bushrod, Carl Nicks, Olin Kreutz, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, Matt Tennant, Charles Brown, Jordan Black.
After the five starters, Tennant can back up both guard and center, while Brown and Black are the backups at tackle.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Alex Brown, Will Smith, Shaun Rogers, Sedrick Ellis, Aubrayo Franklin, Turk McBride, Cameron Jordan, Jeff Charleston, Junior Galette.
Only three tackles are in that group, but Jordan has the ability to slide inside.
LINEBACKERS (8): Will Herring, Jonathan Vilma, Jonathan Casillas, Scott Shanle, Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Clint Ingram, Martez Wilson, Nate Bussey.
It may be a stretch to keep two rookies, but Wilson has potential and Bussey has been a surprise.
DEFENSIVE BACKS (10): Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, Patrick Robinson, Johnny Patrick, Pierson Prioleau, Jonathon Amaya, Leigh Torrence, Chris Reis.
The ability to play special teams goes a long way for some of these defenders.
SPECIALISTS (3): Garrett Hartley, Thomas Morstead, Justin Drescher (long snapper).
No questions here.