White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. – Receiver Marques Colston was moved from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list Friday and participated in the morning practice at The Greenbrier on a limited basis.
Colston, the all-time leading receiver in New Orleans Saints history (666 receptions for 9,239 yards and 68 touchdowns, all franchise records), sat out the later portions of the Saints' OTAs and minicamp.
He's entering his 10th season, a fact that Saints Coach Sean Payton said will have the staff monitoring Colston's practice work in order to make sure he's ready for the regular season.
"We'll be smart with Marques," Payton said Friday. "The reps are the one thing, but making sure he's getting in football shape, I think that we'll do a good job with some veteran players, he being one of them."
AN EXTRA EYE: Friday, the Saints experimented with a new practice participant: a virtual reality camera, placed on the field (on its tripod) behind the linebackers during a running drill. The camera strategically can be placed in several areas on the field.
"Basically, it's a camera that is able to film 360-degree angles and so, there are certain drills where it's applicable where it really doesn't interfere with anyone," Payton said. "That film will get developed and essentially, if you wanted to take any of the young 'Mike' linebackers, you can put that headset on and they can see every one of those formations. It was even at their eye level.
"They could turn to their right and actually see the outside linebacker to the right, they could turn around and see the safeties. I think the first thing that comes to mind is (using the camera to aid) the quarterback, the 'Mike' linebacker, the personal protector (on punts), where they can get additional reps up here (that) may be a little bit more significant than just the two-dimensional film."
ICE BOX: Another bit of technological advancement the Saints are putting to use is a cryotherapy chamber. The chamber, perhaps, eventually will replace the traditional cold tub.
"Basically, cold, post-practice and pre-practice has been good," Payton said. "There's ways to do it. If you've ever just sat in an ice tub, it's real beneficial and yet, it kind of takes your breath away. So another technology is the cryo-chamber, which is new, which does it in a shorter period of time. So three minutes in there – and that's not necessarily easy – but I say it's easier than sitting in the plunge pool.
"I was in it this morning. It's cold. It's a long three minutes."
Saints players also are using inflatable pressurized wraps on their legs.
"The key during camp, even during the season, is utilizing the technology to get the blood back in their legs," Payton said. "That can be from transition – cold to hot, that can be in the cryo, that can be in the pressure wraps. All of those things we're trying to take advantage of, especially during these training camp practices."