With veteran Seneca Wallace sitting out with a groin problem, former Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin seized the opportunity he received in Saints’ practice Wednesday morning.
Getting his most work in team drills since the start of training camp last week, Griffin got extra reps after Drew Brees and Luke McCown and certainly made the most of it.
He connected on his first six passes, going 5 of 5 with two long touchdowns in the first segment. While those came off busted coverages, his first pass in the second segment was a 78-yarder to Preston Parker.
The streak ended when he tried to hit Andy Tanner in a tight window and safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah went high to intercept it.
Still, it was a strong showing for Griffin, an undrafted free agent.
“I thought he had his best practice to date,” coach Sean Payton said. “I thought he made some really good plays. There are some things he did with protections that are really impressive as well, getting the right guys blocked. He made some big throws.”
“I thought it was a good practice overall for the whole team. … It went pretty well,” Griffin said. “Seneca wasn’t able to practice, so I got more reps. It was just good to get out there and learn and get better.
It went pretty well. A lot of the guys lined up right and did a good job with the assignments, so it’s not just me, it was everyone.”
OFFICIALS ARE IN: A partial crew of NFL and college officials will work practices Thursday and Friday and will be on hand for Saturday’s Black and Gold Scrimmage.
Each training camp, officials are brought in about a week before the first preseason game to help players adjust to new rules and get used to having penalties called.
Long time NFL referee Walt Coleman will give a media presentation, including a question-and-answer session, and show a video on the rules changes before Thursday’s practice.
SHE’S IN STRIPES: Working with Coleman’s group will be Sarah Thomas of Brandon, Miss., a Conference USA official since 2007.
Thomas, who’s expected to be on the crew that will work the Saints-Oakland Raiders exhibition game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Aug. 16, is in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program and is a finalist to become the first female permanent game official.
THURSDAY PRACTICE CLOSED: Payton said Thursday’s practice will be held indoors and is now closed to the public.
The practice was scheduled to be open to fans, but Payton wants to give his players a break from the steamy conditions they’ve been working in since the first practice last Friday.
Friday’s workout, which was supposed to be closed, is now open to the public and will start at 8:50 a.m.