Need to know: What comes next as Saints start practices in Dallas

DALLAS — The Saints will spend this week practicing in Dallas at AT&T Stadium. What happens after that is still up in the air.

The team will go on a break after Wednesday’s practice and report back next Monday at a not yet determined location. The venue for the Week 1 game against the Green Bay Packers is still also unknown.

Here’s what you need to know about where things stand with the team.

Unlikely to return soon: Sean Payton said it seems “unrealistic” that the Saints end up back in Metairie for practices next week. The area is unlikely to have power and perhaps even water for a little while. Until things are a little more normal, the team will likely practice away from New Orleans.

Next location unknown: The team is still filling in the blanks on what happens next. Payton said the season opener would not take place in Green Bay, but beyond that, he isn’t clear on what happens next. The Cowboys are on the road during the first week. So, playing here could be an option if the Superdome is not ready to host a game. If Dallas isn’t an option for the week, New Orleans has before practiced in Indianapolis at The Greenbrier in West Virginia and Oxnard, California. Next week, Indianapolis is hosting a Guns N’ Roses concert, which could take it out of the running.

Schedule this week: The team will practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before going on a mandated break before the start of Week 1. The only changes caused to the schedule were that Sunday was originally to be a practice day and Monday was supposed to be a day off.

Roster cuts this week: One big wrinkle this week is how roster cuts will get handled as the team has to trim to 53 players by Tuesday afternoon. Some of the players getting let go have their homes or hotel rooms back in the city and might not be able to retrieve their things right away. That could create some hiccups in the logistics of handling everything. Typically, the players get let go on a day off and head out. Now, the cut players might have to stay at the team hotel until all the logistics get figured out.

Practice facility is fine: Payton said the team’s practice facility on Airline Drive got through Hurricane Ida relatively unscathed and that the initial reports on how it held up sound positive.

Focus not an issue: This situation will create challenges for the Saints, but they say focus won’t be an issue. The players said they were looking forward to having practice because it allows for an escape, and Payton said something like this can help focus players. The only issue will be finding ways to work out and taking care of other things. The team has a gym available at SMU they can use, and they set up the hotel to have different meeting rooms.

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  1. On top of football the other challenges are players and staff worried about their families while away and “increased risk” if they have to bounce around to different practice and game facilities is COVID19 exposures to players and staff and families. I pray and hope all these challenges are as minimal as possible. Thank you for the small distraction.

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