It certainly wasn’t a surprise to hear Saints coach Sean Payton talk about being eager to see how things will shake out at left tackle in the Black and Gold Scrimmage on Saturday.
Four-year veteran Charles Brown has been in the lead in the race to replace Jermon Bushrod since the start of training camp last week, but Payton will be taking a long look at him as and second-teamer Terron Armstead in the scrimmage.
Actually, it was at the top of a list of positions Payton will look at.
Other areas he’ll watch are the battle between the wide receivers and defensive backs, which has been extremely competitive in the first eight practices of camp, and a large group of young outside linebackers — including sixth-round draft pick Rufus Johnson.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Payton said the scrimmage will be similar to what the Saints have done in the past even though they didn’t have one a year ago because they were in the Hall of Fame Game.
The team will take part in individual drills and likely some 7-on-7 and 9-on-7 work, which is similar to what they do in practice every day, before a series of team drills composed of between eight and 12 plays each.
“We’ll put the ones versus the twos, the ones versus the ones,” Payton said. “We’ll put some special teams in there. It’s kind of a controlled scrimmage. We’ll stay off the quarterbacks and stay away from cutting, blocking below the waist.
“We’ll try to stay healthy and pretty much what we’ve done before.”
BOUNCING BACK: Even though it was only a practice, wide receiver Joe Morgan went from one extreme to the other in Friday’s practice.
Morgan, who had trouble catching the ball in training camp a year ago, let a high throw from Luke McCown go through his hands in the back of the end zone in 7-on-7 drills before redeeming himself a few minutes later.
After McCown finished the 7-on-7 drill by throwing back-to-back TDs to Benjamin Watson and Chris Givens, Morgan opened the first team drills of the day with a sensational catch on a pass from Drew Brees.
Morgan reached out to stab the wide throw, then managed to pull the ball in with his right hand and secured it to his body while lying flat on his back.
INGRAM RETURNS: After getting a day off from Payton to rest when the team went inside for a practice Thursday on the field turf, running back Mark Ingram was back at work Friday.
Ingram had turf toe surgery just after the 2011 season and four months later had arthroscopic surgery on his knee, two procedures that slowed him during training camp last summer.
WALLACE TO SIT OUT: Payton said Seneca Wallace, who’s vying with McCown for the backup quarterback spot, won’t participate in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Wallace strained his groin earlier in the week and will benefit from another two days of rest.
Outside linebacker Martez Wilson (elbow), defensive end Tom Johnson (hip), wide receiver Marques Colston (foot) and cornerback Patrick Robinson (knee) also won’t play.