London – The New Orleans Saints are expected to receive an offensive boost for Sunday's game against Miami at Wembley Stadium, with the return of receiver Drew Brees.
Snead, the Saints' second-leading returning receiver from last year (72 catches for 895 yards and four touchdowns in 15 games, with four starts) was suspended for the first three regular-season games due to a driving under the influence offense this summer.
"We'll wait and see how he's moving around," Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday morning. "It's been a little bit of time since he had been playing. We'll see how he handles the work week."
Snead participated in offseason and much of preseason but had been away from the team during his suspension.
BACK, BUT DIFFERENT: This isn't the Saints' first trip to London with Payton, as has been noted. The last time, they played the Chargers and the logistics were a bit different. "Back in 2008, it was a team, you could pretty much pick where you were going to practice, where you were going to stay, you could lay that all out," Payton said. "You have a choice, in recent years, as to whether you choose to come early (from the U.S.) or stay late but outside of that, 'Here's your hotel, here's your practice field,' and you just go. It wasn't like there were many choices that way but I did feel it was important to come, (we were) in the Eastern time zone already (after playing in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday) and the transition was fairly smooth, getting adjusted. Today is Wednesday, we should be close to adjusted by now."
HAPPY TOGETHER: One of the benefits of arriving early is that the Saints pretty much have been able to close ranks. "I think it's a more enclosed environment," Payton said. "We're all here, we're all eating together, 24/7. I think it's a much easier, more controlled environment than when you're at home and everyone is spread out. I like that environment that we're in right now. There isn't a lot of time for all the other English pleasantries right now."
DOLPHINS SCOUTING REPORT: "We're seeing a real good running back (in Miami's Jay Ajayi)," Payton said. "We're seeing a very good uptempo offense that's dangerous with the screen passing game. The ball can come out quick. There's a lot of explosive plays on that film. Defensively, you've got to start with dealing with (defensive tackle Ndamukong) Suh. He's a guy that is a dominant player inside. They do a good job of taking the ball away, I think they tackle very well and limit the explosives. I think in the kicking game, they're in the top third (of the league). They're dangerous in the return game; if the ball's not kicked out of the end zone, it's coming back. And you're playing a team coming off a tough division loss. I expect it'll be a big challenge."
NO NEW SCOUTING REPORT NEEDED: Payton joked when asked about Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler, who briefly retired during the offseason and accepted a job in television, before un-retiring to play for Miami after starter Ryan Tanneyhill was injured and lost for the season. "He hadn't gone away for three years and come back, now," Payton said. "He still has the broadcasting plastic wrapper. He just played last year, so it's the same guy we've been seeing."
TIME WILL TELL: Payton said he didn't know if there would be more league-wide protests Sunday. Players and owners across the NFL last Sunday took knees, sat and locked arms during the playing of the national anthem, and some teams remained in the locker room, to voice displeasure over President Donald Trump saying that players should be fired if they didn't stand for the national anthem. The protests were originated last season by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, as a means to raise awareness to police brutality and minority inequalities, and players repeatedly have stressed that their kneeling and sitting is not out of disrespect for the anthem, flag or servicemen and servicewomen. "I would imagine on Sunday throughout the league again it'll vary by team," Payton said. "We're kind of focused on…the one thing we can control is playing a good football game. And I felt last week – all of those remarks came when we were traveling to Carolina and it really got to us late that night, the next morning – and to our players' credit, we were focused on one thing and that was going out and playing a good football team. And our goal as coaches is to make sure we're ready to do that again this week. And that's what we're going to do."