Saints coach Sean Payton cut back Thursday's practice about 20 minutes from the previous day and it was by design. He also limited team drills to eight snaps while also interspersing some special teams' work between offense and team defensive work.
"We're in the second week now and we can do that," Payton said. "It was a little warm out here. (Around 80 degrees when practice began.) I think you have to be a little careful; some guys would worry about getting all the plays in. All I was concerned about was getting good work in and we accomplished that."
For the last 40 minutes of practice, the Saints removed their shoulder pads for shells.
Once again, the only key player who didn't participate in practice was running back Lynell Hamilton. However, Hamilton, a stout special teams' player and short-yardage runner, did some jogging on his sore left ankle under the eyes of the training staff.
"He's feeling better," Payton said of Hamilton. "I'm hopeful of him playing."
Once again, the Saints worked on turnover drills where defensive players batted their way through two dummies and then had to cut around a third one before picking up a rolling football. They also used an unusual receivers' drill where a towel is held on a stick high enough that it blocks the player's view of an incoming pass.
"There are a lot of times in a game when a player doesn't have that clear vision when you have to catch a pass in traffic," Payton said. "It's a good ball security drill because there are distractions during a game."
For five minutes at the start of team drills, the sound system at the U. of Miami football fields blared a popular Superdome song during the season by the Ying Yang Twins, "Halftime Stand Up and Get Crunk." The team also had some crowd noise blaring during some drills although Payton is well aware that neither team will have a dome-noise advantage on Sunday.