Saints players and coaches have said it is odd not having Brees around, but added that they are confident his absence won't unduly hurt the team as long as he's back by training camp.
Assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who has been tapped to handle head coaching duties this season, except while serving his own six-game suspension resulting from the bounty probe, said he has been talking with Brees regularly and asking the quarterback for input on training camp, which opens in late July.
"Nobody is going to come in better shape than Drew," Vitt said earlier this week. "Drew is working extremely hard right now. He's mastered the system. (Brees' contract) will get done with both parties getting together. ... They are both working hard at it."
Notes: The Saints also signed running back Joe Banyard after the completion of minicamp. Like McCown, Banyard was with the Saints on a three-day tryout this week. ... Starting RT Zach Strief wound sat out a fourth-straight practice on Thursday after rolling his right ankle in the opening practice of minicamp. He said the injury is minor, that he rested as a precaution, and that he expects to practice next week. ... RB Chris Ivory sat out a second straight day with what Vitt has said is a minor hamstring pull. ... The Saints announced that they will hold training camp, as usual, at their suburban New Orleans headquarters and that it will open on July 27.
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