Although there was some speculation that the Saints were being intentionally cautious as they rested some injured starters in Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, coach Sean Payton said Monday he wasn’t looking ahead to next week’s Monday night game against New England when he made the decisions.
Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, running back Reggie Bush, cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter and receiver Lance Moore were among the key players the Saints made inactive against the Buccaneers.
“No, we haven’t held anyone,’’ Payton said. “We try to play guys when they’re ready. That’s what we’re trying to do and last week you had some guys that were close. If a guy’s ready they’re going to play. We don’t look at a game and target a game because of a game. We hope to be as healthy as possible each week and this is certainly a game where it’s a real good opponent.”
Bush and Ellis didn’t travel with the team to Tampa and Payton said part of the logic for that was because the team decided their recoveries would be helped more by receiving treatment at home, instead of getting on a plane.
“It was really where they were at on Saturday,’’ Payton said. “No. 1, they’re both leg-related injuries so if we’re not going to play a player and Saturday we come in and there’s still some swelling and some uncertainty, we typically will leave a player and let them rest and get the treatment at home as opposed to getting on a plane. We typically don’t take players that aren’t going to play. Sometimes if they’re questionable we take them and work them out there and we’ve done that before, but in their case, after working them out on Saturday morning and observing where they were at, we went ahead and did that.’’