As they normally do when they prepare to play a road game, the Saints practiced outdoors on their grass fields Thursday for the second time this week.
The Saints came back Tuesday following a three-day weekend for an intro to the game plan for Monday night’s game with the Seattle Seahawks and, after a day off Wednesday, worked again Thursday.
The chilly temperatures of the past few days helped get the Saints acclimated for the Seattle weather. Monday’s forecast is calling for a high of 41 degrees with the temperature dipping close to the freezing mark by the game’s end. There is a 30 percent chance of rain and snow showers.
“It was good. … In fact, the other day was probably even colder and damper,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, noting the temperature will drop into the 30s during the game. “So having that similar environment a few days ago and to some degree, cooler weather today is helpful.”
THE NOISE FACTOR: Even though he has a dome team, which sometimes has trouble in extreme weather conditions, Payton seemed almost as concerned with the noise that the Saints will contend with in CenturyLink Field.
Playing in arguably the loudest venue in the NFL, the Seahawks have a sparkling 64-29 record at home since moving to the NFC when the league realigned in 2002.
“Getting the crowd noise work done is critical as well (as the weather) because the communication and the ability to focus with all those other things going on is where you are challenged,” Payton said.
PRACTICE REPORT: Having a weekend off to heal up after their 17-13 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 21 helped shrink their list of injured players.
The only player who didn’t participate in practice was defensive end Glenn Foster, who hurt his knee in the second half against the Falcons.
CB Chris Carr (hip/hamstring) was limited, while G Jahri Evans (ankle) and RB Darren Sproles (ankle) had full participation after missing the Falcons’ game.
The Seahawks were given the day off for Thanksgiving, but WR Percy Harvin (hip) and CB Brandon Browner (groin) would have been out, while RB Marshawn Lynch (knee) would have been limited according to coach Pete Carroll.
THANKUL TO BE BACK: When asked what he was thankful for on Thanksgiving, Payton cited being back with his team after serving a season-long suspension in 2012 as the No. 1 thing.
“I am thankful for these players. I’m thankful for you guys, all that cover us on a regular basis … and I mean that,” Payton said. “The biggest thing, and I told our team, when you are away a year it’s not the ancillary things, but it is the interaction that you have as a team.
“I think it is a close group. Obviously, there are a lot of changes every year, but that is the thing I am thankful for — this family, my immediate family, also with my children. That’s why I liked practicing today.”
WINNING SEASON CLINCHED: The Saints are looking for a lot more in the final five games of the season after clinching the franchise’s 12th winning season with the victory over the Falcons last week.
It was Payton’s fifth winning season in seven years (2006, ’09, ’10, ’11 and ’13), tying him with Jim Mora (1987, ’88, ’89, ’91 and ’92) for the most in franchise history. Jim Haslett had the other two (2000 and ’02).