METAIRIE, La. (WAFB) - Depending on how you look at it, if training camp is phase one of the 2019 Saints season, it officially came to an end Thursday in Metairie.
Saturday figures to be the most Saints fans will see of wide receiver Michael Thomas and running back Alvin Kamara this preseason as they anxiously await the Monday night season opener with the Texans.
From this point forward, the Saints will work on a regular season schedule, though they still have two preseason games remaining. The first one coming Saturday at the Jets.
“It means two things to me,” said head coach Sean Payton. “It means, number one, all the meetings are here instead of the hotel. And then, players with housing can stay in their homes.”
“It’s kind of like the ankle weights theory,” added linebacker Demario Davis. “You want camp to be hard so the season is easy. And, it does feel better when you take the ankle weights off, but right now, we’re still kind of in the grind until they turn us loose.”
The Saints mostly drilled game situations at Thursday’s practice. With each rep in Metairie, along with the remaining preseason games, cut day is looming. It’s the business of pro football but it’s also a major life moment in many players’ lives.
Payton and Thomas spoke about it and how they handle the team getting down to 53.
“Just share with them other real life examples of guys that have been cut but are now starting on teams, have won championships,” stated Thomas. “Things like that. Just letting them know it’s a tough job. There are ups and downs, adversity, but keep your head high and keep faith.”
“I was in their shoes probably three or four times. Been released when I was younger. Some of the players that get released, there’s a good chance they’re going to end up coming back through the doors here. We talk about that. And then, some of the others maybe not so much. But, that part never changes really. These guys have put a lot in. There’s a lot of investment, so it’s difficult,” Payton explained.
The Saints leave Friday afternoon for New York. The last time they faced the Jets was during the 2017 regular season. The Saints came away with a 31-19 win in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Saturday night’s game, as with all of the Saints’ preseason contests, will air on WAFB. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.