Saints WR Morgan off to great camp start

New Orleans Saints receiver Joseph Morgan has become a

training-camp darling after two impressive touchdowns in his first

two preseason games.

In Morgan’s eyes, he’s only as good as his last practice.

Morgan eluded numerous defenders on a 78-yard punt return for a

touchdown during the Saints’ preseason win over the 49ers on Aug.

12. He followed that up with a 56-yard TD reception in last

Saturday’s loss to the Texans, unleashing the same speed that

attracted the attention of the Saints.

”If people saw how I did in camp (Tuesday), I did terrible,”

Morgan said. ”I did bad. It’s one of those things that I have to

get better every day. I want to say it’s been successful so far,

but I’ve got to do better.”

Morgan’s journey to the Saints is similar to the route followed

by many undrafted rookie free agents.

Morgan began his college career at Illinois, but transferred

after off-the-field issues and ended up at Walsh University, an

NAIA school, for his junior and senior seasons. Morgan said one of

his coaches at Walsh had connections with the St. Louis Rams, and

word spread about the speedster.

”I set my expectations high,” Morgan said. ”If I didn’t set

my expectations high, I wouldn’t make the team. So all I’m trying

to do is get better every day because there’s nothing written in

stone. You’ve just got to come out and keep working hard every

day.”

Morgan is fighting for one or possibly two open roster spots at

receiver, considering veterans like Marques Colston, Lance Moore,

Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson have been entrenched for

several seasons in the Saints’ offense.

For Morgan to make the roster, he’ll have to show he can help

the Saints in a variety of ways.

”He’s young, he’s green, there’s a lot he’s working on, but

he’s still explosive and you can see that,” New Orleans coach Sean

Payton said. ”He runs well and those are things that showed up

right away in our first week, and yet there are still a number of

little things, a lot of things that he’s working on to refine his

game. But we’ve been pleased with his quick development and the

explosiveness he brings in the return game and on the

outside.”

Payton said it’s fair to compare the way receiver Rod Harper

made the team two years ago to Morgan’s effort. Harper had two punt

returns for touchdowns in the 2009 preseason and surprisingly made

the 53-man roster after final cuts.

The Saints have a history of keeping players who make good

impressions during training camp. Morgan is well on his way, but

Payton warns there’s always more that can be done.

”Their job is to improve each day,” Payton said. ”Their job

is to make an impression. Their job is to help in the kicking game

and if they can answer those questions, the first way to make the

team is to contribute on special teams. But if they can do that

then they’re pressing other players that can play that similar

role.”

NOTES: RB Mark Ingram (left knee) and G Carl Nicks (left knee)

were the most notable of the 16 players to miss Tuesday’s practice.

Nicks left midway through Monday’s practice to have his knee

examined. Payton said Nicks should only miss one week after an MRI

came back negative. Nicks did briefly attend Tuesday’s practice and

walked around without a noticeable limp. Payton said Ingram simply

had soreness in his knee and could miss Wednesday’s practice, but

it didn’t appear serious. … The other 13 players who missed

practice were RB Chris Ivory (left foot, abdomen), DE Greg Romeus

(right knee), LB Ezra Butler (left hamstring), DT Tom Johnson (left

calf), CB Johnny Patrick (right knee), DE Jeff Charleston (left

ankle), CB Fabian Washington (right hamstring), LB Will Herring

(right calf), RB Chris Taylor (right ankle), DT Aubrayo Franklin

(left knee), G Roger Allen (left knee), LB Clint Ingram (right

hamstring) and WR Jarred Fayson (right knee). DE Junior Galette

(left knee) left midway through Tuesday’s practice.