Saints adjust schedule because of tropical storm
The New Orleans Saints changed their practice and travel plans
Monday, heading for Cincinnati as Tropical Storm Isaac headed for
the Gulf Coast.
Interim coach Joe Vitt called off practice and meetings so
players could evacuate their families. The Saints also contacted
the Cincinnati Bengals and got approval to practice at Paul Brown
Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
The Saints are scheduled to play their final preseason game
Thursday in Tennessee. The team considered flying there directly
ahead of the storm, but couldn’t work out the logistics. Instead,
they decided to make a stop in Cincinnati.
”Joe (Vitt), who’s kind of running the show now, has been a
good friend for a long time,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said
after his team’s practice Monday. ”So it works out well. We’ve
talked a couple of times already.”
Lewis offered to hold a joint workout with the Saints, but New
Orleans decided on a separate practice. The Bengals will practice
in the morning before heading to Indianapolis for their final
preseason game against the Colts on Thursday night.
The latest National Weather Service forecast has Isaac coming
ashore on the Mississippi Gulf Coast just east of Louisiana on
Tuesday night or Wednesday morning with maximum sustained winds of
about 100 mph. Each updated forecast has had the storm landing
farther west than the previous one.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency on
Vitt decided to give his players time to take care of their
families. The Saints haven’t practiced since their 34-27 preseason
win over the Texans on Saturday night in New Orleans. Drew Brees
was sharp in that game, going 17 of 25 for 179 yards with a pair of
New Orleans has been scrambling since the path of the storm
”They haven’t had an opportunity to have their team back
together,” Lewis said. ”They haven’t even looked at the tape of
their players (from the preseason game) yet. So they’re going to
get in here tonight and try to get some of their evaluation done
from the last game.”
Linebacker Will Herring tweeted a photo of himself cleaning out
his freezer in preparation for leaving town.
It’ll be the second time the Saints have visited Ohio this
month. They opened their preseason in Canton in northern Ohio,
beating Arizona in the Hall of Fame game.
It’s not the first time a storm has forced the Saints to alter
practice plans since Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in
2005, forcing them to play the entire season away from New Orleans.
In 2008, they practiced at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis the week
before their regular-season opener at home against Tampa Bay due to
a mandatory city-wide evacuation for Hurricane Gustav.
”That’s the way this team is built,” Vitt said. ”That’s the
way this organization’s built. I think that it really just shadows
the resiliency of our community. This community faces these types
of things it seems every year. We stand beside our community,
encourage them to take shelter and everybody can be safe in this
AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this