<span style="">Inside the New Orleans Saints' indoor practice facility this morning, the Saints went through their third organized team activity (OTA) of the 2009 season. And the buzzword of the day was heard universally among those participating and watching the practice: spirited.
From seemingly the beginning of practice until the final whistle, competition was keen and continued to be ratcheted up throughout the workout, with lots of good-natured barbs tossed about, and many big plays being turned in from both the Saints' top-ranked offense, and just as equally, by the new look defense.
There was even a little extra circular pushing and shoving between tackle Zach Strief and cornerback Jason David after the cornerback bumped a receiver to the ground after a catch. Strief, coming to the assistance of the receiver, let David know that he didn't appreciate the extra action. Tempers quickly cooled, however, and the spirited workout resumed with nobody worse for wear.
WR Robert Meachem turned in a scintillating practice, making several acrobatic catches, while QB Drew Brees also hooked up with WR Adrian Arrington on a long touchdown pass. Brees was clearly jacked up about the play, as he sprinted nearly 60 yards and jumped up to "bump" with Arrington in the end zone.
Saints Coach Sean Payton said he was pleased with the team's attitude and attendance for the voluntary workouts. The only missing veteran players were tight end Jeremy Shockey and recently signed safety Darren Sharper who both had family matters they had to handle.
"I talked to both players and we'll get them both back here ASAP," Payton said.
Two rookies - first-round draft pick Malcolm Jenkins and free agent guard Shawn Flanagan - weren't there because their schools are still in session.
Two marquee names also missed the majority of the workouts, as tailback Reggie Bush, still working his way back from knee surgery, went through the walk-though but did not participate in the workout. In addition the same held true for wide receiver Marques Colston, who is working his way back from knee surgery.
Payton said he expects both key players to "get some work" in the team's minicamp the first weekend of June.
"I'm encouraged with, most important, the attendance and attitude," Payton said.