Afternoon practice begins soon; pre-season game this week

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — After taking the day off Sunday following Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage, the Saints return to the fields at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia for their ninth day of training camp practice there. They’re three days out from traveling to St. Louis for their first preseason game, and they’re four days away from playing it.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Practice on Monday is supposed to run from about 3 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. CDT. The first reports to come out of the practice will likely focus on whether Saints quarterback Drew Brees participates after straining an oblique muscle in his non-throwing arm. Brees sat out Saturday’s scrimmage, permitting backups Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin to get plenty of snaps while vying to be the understudy to the Saints’ franchise quarterback. Griffin was solid at the scrimmage, while McCown was less so, most notably having been intercepted by reserve safety and Canadian Football League expat Marcus Ball.

Other big names who’ve been sitting out drills are veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, Pro Bowl guard Ben Grubbs, and second-year wide receiver Kenny Stills. Stills has been out since tweaking a quad July 25. Grubbs (undisclosed) hasn’t put on pads since July 27. And Bailey has been out since Thursday with what coach Sean Payton made it sound like was an injury. Payton has refused to go into details but did say he thinks Bailey could be seen back in practice soon.

LIGHT READING: Fellow Advocate Saints beat writer Nick Underhill has a fascinating look at how long it should ideally take Brees to throw the ball when he drops back to pass — and what goes in to determining that. Find that piece at www.theneworleansadvocate.com/sports/saints

And Aeneas Williams, a New Orleans native who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, gave a hearty thank you to Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. That, and more, is at The Black and Gold Blog.