Payton also indicated that the apparent challenger for the job, Zach Strief, has been working more at right tackle than left. Bushrod has come a long way, says Payton:
He has progressed like some of these other young players like [Robert] Meachem, like Usama Young. He’s really doing a good job. He has played well the last two weeks out against two pretty good ends [Houston's Mario Williams and Oakland's Greg Ellis]. He’ll just work on getting better. I think he is certainly feeling more confident and that’s a big plus.Injury notes:
- Payton reported that OT's Anthony Davis and Zach Strief, TE Billy Miller and DE Charles Grant all practiced at full speed. Miller saw preseason action in Oakland, which was a good sign.
- TE Darnell Dinkins aggravated a foot injury that was already limiting him. That may signal his departure.
- RB Reggie Bush did not practice and while Payton is "hopeful" that Reggie will be ready for Thursday, to us it makes zero sense for him to risk further injury. Same for Pierre Thomas and his sprained MCL.
- WR Adrian Arrington did not practice because of a hamstring injury. You cannot make a 53-man roster from the sidelines.
- S Chip Vaughn, the Saints' other fourth round pick, appears to be headed for the injured reserve. The Saints likely won't risk releasing him and hiding him on the practice squad. But that knee injury has pushed him down the depth chart at a position where the Saints are loaded. Darren Sharper, Roman Harper, Usama Young, Pierson Prioleau and Chris Reis all have a better shot at contributing than the talented rookie.
- With the injuries to Bush and Thomas, it appears likely that Mike Bell and one other runningback will make the roster. That will be either Lynell Hamitlon, PJ Hill or Herb Donaldson. It appears Bell has won the third runningback job.
- There's a faint chance the Saints would choose to keep a fifth runningback around for special teams purposes only, but its likely Bell will be the only one left at the Saints' bye week, when Bush and Thomas are hopefully healthy and three players return from the suspensions: Charles Grant, Will Smith and Garrett Hartley.