The Top 50 photos of Week 2 of 2014 Training Camp presented by Verizon. (New Orleans Saints photos)
The New Orleans Saints will open their 2014 home schedule at 7 p.m. Friday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when they take on the Tennessee Titans in the second of four preseason games.
This will be the 29th time that the Saints have faced Tennessee in the preseason. The Titans defeated the Saints 10-6 during the 2012 meeting. The series is tied 14-14-1. The Saints are now 17-13 in the preseason under Sean Payton. It will be the first time home fans can see the team's first-round draft pick, speedy wide receiver Brandin Cooks, in game action. Cooks caught five passes for 55 yards and one second quarter touchdown in the Saints' 26-24 win against the St. Louis Rams in the preseason opener.
Most of the team's other draft picks – cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, outside linebackers Khairi Fortt and Ronald Powell, safety Vinnie Sunseri and offensive tackle Tavon Rooks – should see plenty of action against the Titans. It's unclear whether the team's two big free-agent acquisitions on defense – safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Champ Bailey – will play.
It is also a day-to-day decision whether star quarterback Drew Brees will play – even for a couple of series' – Friday. Brees strained his left oblique early in training camp and sat out the Rams' game. Even though Brees has returned to practice, Coach Sean Payton may use the game to get more game tape on the two players vying to be Brees' backup, veteran Luke McCown and second-year man Ryan Griffin.
Both players have been sharp during training camp practices at The Greenbrier resort on White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., and both saw extensive action against the Rams. McCown went seven for 10 for 49 yards, while Griffin, a Tulane product, went 16 for 23 for 179 yards with one touchdown.
There are several other position battles playing out for the Saints including at center (Tim Lelito or Jonathan Goodwin), at kicker (Shayne Graham or Derek Dimke) and at wide receiver (Cooks, Robert Meachem, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon and Joseph Morgan).
The Titans are coached by Ken Whisenhunt, who was hired this past January after the team finished 7-9 in 2013. Whisenhunt has 17 seasons of NFL coaching and was Head Coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2007-2012. Jake Locker is Tennessee's starting quarterback but LSU fans in the Superdome stands tonight might be more excited to see one of his backups, rookie Zach Mettenberger, the team's sixth-round draft pick. Mettenberger is listed third on the depth chart behind veteran Charlie Whitehurst.
The Saints will resume practice Sunday at the team's Metairie training facility after holding the first three weeks of practice at The Greenbrier. Sunday's practice will be open to the public (weather permitting) and should run from 4 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. The Saints also will hold open practices Monday and Tuesday from 8:50 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. and then hold a special evening practice Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Mandeville High School.