Tuesday marked the start of the New Orleans Saints' annual three-day minicamp, signalling the offseason is winding down and training camp is just around the corner.
Inclement weather chased the team off the wet practice fields for the final 30-40 minutes of work and the players seemed stoked by the change of scenery inside the $16 million indoor facility.
With VIPs and media looking on, quarterback Drew Brees put the No. 1 offense through its paces in a scripted two-minute, end-of-the-game drill. On second down from the 30, Brees overthrew 6-foot-6 Brandon Coleman in the left corner of the end zone.
Brees scolded himself out loud, knowing he had squandered a potential scoring opportunity. And while it may only be minicamp, and it may still be 90 days out from the start of the regular season, Brees knows practice makes perfect.
On the next play, Brees again failed to connect with an open receiver (Brandin Cooks) in the back of the end zone. On both plays, Payton made a point of alerting the secondary of incoming passes into the end zone and still both receivers got open.
All in a day's work, Payton told reporters afterward.
"That's why we are sitting here in early June doing it, and it's basically the second day of two-minute," Payton said. "We'll get it on tape. It'll be a lot more frustrating if we're in August training camp and the same thing is happening."
More of the same Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 11 a.m. Practice will be held outdoors, weather permitting, and is open to the public.
News & notes
-- Veteran wide receiver Robert Meachem is participating in minicamp on a tryout basis. Meachem, the team's No. 1 pick in 2007 and a major contributor on the 2009 Super Bowl XLIV championship team, is attempting a comeback at age 31 after sitting out last season.
-- Second-year linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha is expected to undergo season-ending ACL reconstructive knee surgery. It is the third such injury to his left knee in the last six years. He currently is visiting several specialists to determine the best course of action. "This has just motivated him more," Payton said. "He's a pretty tough cookie. Obviously, you're the exception if you can come back after the third (ACL) injury. But I wouldn't bet against Hau'oli. He has that mindset and that's encouraging." Payton said he did not believe the injury is career ending.
-- Payton said the team will not go outside the building to fill Kikaha's spot at defensive end, at least not at the moment. He acknowledged that linebackers Kasim Edebali and Davis Tull fit the mold. "I think there's the initial knee jerk of "well, you have to go sign someone,' " Payton said. "You have to be careful that the vision is clear."
-- Payton and an untold number of players, coaches and team officials were expected to attend Tuesday night's local premiere of "Gleason," a documentary that chronicles the life of former Saints safety/special teams ace Steve Gleason after he was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.