Thursday marked the third day of voluntary organized team activites for the New Orleans Saints, and there was plenty to take away from the team's morning practice, which was the first workout open to the media this week. Here are some snippets of information from this week's three-day session, which wrapped up this afternoon...
Injury ReportJairus Byrd underwent a minor procedure to fix a back issue on Thursday.
- Some surprising news emerged Thursday morning as coach Sean Payton revealed that prized free agent acquisition Jairus Byrd was held out due to a minor surgical procedure to fix a disc issue in his back. Byrd signed a six-year contract with the team in March.
- Payton stressed that the procedure was standard, and said that the team expects to have Byrd back for next week's upcoming three-day OTA session.
In addition to Byrd, WR Joe Morgan and DL Tyrunn Walker all sat out Thursday's practice. G Ben Grubbs practiced, but was limited for undisclosed reasons.
The team's exciting first-round draft choice, WR Brandin Cooks, was not in attendance. This was expected, as per NCAA rules, Cooks can not attend offseason activities until his school, Oregon State, completes its final quarterly semester in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Graham remains absent with a grievance hearing looming in the near future. DT John Jenkins was also missing for undisclosed reasons.
Don't Forget About P-RobPatrick Robinson ran with the 1's during a portion of Thursday's team activities.
- In another mild surprise, CB Patrick Robinson , who is returning from a knee injury that cost him most of the 2013 season, spent some time running with the first-team defense on Thursday. Speaking to reporters after practice, Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan said he thinks Robinson "is going to be great for us." A 1st round pick of the Saints in 2010, Robinson owns career totals of 141 tackles and 7 interceptions.
Back In The Fold
In addition to Robinson, Kenny Vaccaro and Victor Butler are both taking part in OTAs on an unrestricted basis. Vaccaro went down with an ankle injury in week 16 at Carolina, while Butler was injured in OTAs almost a year ago after colliding with Mark Ingram during a drill. He would go on to miss the entire 2013 season. Butler signed a two-year deal with the Saints last spring after working with Rob Ryan in Dallas, where he spent his first four seasons playing in a reserve role behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.
The Saints signed Tackle Jason Weaver on Tuesday. The former Southern Mississippi lineman is a local product, having played his prep ball at Edna Karr High Scool on New Orleans's Westbank. The Saints appear to be stockpiling versatile talent at the tackle positions as they look to find depth behind Terron Armstead and Zach Strief. The team is expected to try several different combinations of players across the offensive line throughout the summer.
To make room for Weaver, the team waived WR Chris Givens. Givens spent both of the last two seasons with New Orleans on injured reserve.
The Saints will kick off their second round of OTAs next Tuesday, with another three-day session at the team's facility on the cards. A third slate of OTA's is scheduled for June 16-19, with a mandatory minicamp set for June 10-12.
Stay tuned for further updates and analysis from the Crescent City.