To suggest that New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton on Wednesday played it close to the vest regarding the status of quarterback Drew Brees entering Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., would be to suggest that Payton was wearing a vest at all.
The status of Brees, who reportedly suffered a bruised rotator cuff in his right (throwing) shoulder in the first half of the Saints' 26-19 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, will be evaluated day to day, Payton said. A determination on his playing status at Bank of America Stadium will be made later in the week.
"It'll be day to day," Payton said. "We'll report it and include it in our injury list.
"I'm not going to go through hypothetical scenarios. We're going to play the guys that we feel like are most ready to play and give us the best chance to win."
Brees completed 24 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers, with an interception. He was sacked four times and rushed (and hit) several other times. In the first half, he completed 10 of 14 for 125 yards and was sacked three times; in the second, he completed 14 of 24 passes 130 yards and was sacked once, while throwing a touchdown and an interception.
Payton said that backup quarterback Luke McCown is more than capable of directing the Saints' offense but, again, Brees' playing status will be evaluated and revealed later this week.
"The traits that Luke McCown has, in regard to similarities – it's not like we've got a whole zone-read package with one and a drop-back package with the other," Payton said. "(Tuesday) night was the first night in game planning, we'll get to work on it today and we'll make sure we're getting the reps we need at that position and kind of see how he does. From an injury standpoint, there's nothing I'm going to say at all, other than it'll be day to day, we'll see how (Brees is) progressing and we'll be smart.
"(McCown) is a guy we got first-hand knowledge with. If you go back to his days even at Tampa, he had a win here in the Dome. He's a very good athlete. I think he's sharp and so he processes the information quickly."
Panthers Coach Ron Rivera said that he expects the Saints to operate offensively as they always have, regardless of who plays quarterback.
"I think the thing, more so than anything else, as an offensive football team, they do what they do," Rivera said. "You still see the same route combinations. You still see the receivers running the same routes. I think right now it's working into a rhythm."