There were a lot of good signs from a health standpoint in the New Orleans Saints' 23-20 victory against the San Francisco 49ers. As expected, tight end Jimmy Graham's workload increased significantly from the week before. He played 51 out of 69 snaps, which is pretty close to a normal snap count even before he suffered foot and elbow injuries. Defensive end Cameron Jordan also played 49 of 57 snaps while healing up from a lingering ankle injury. And safety Malcolm Jenkins played every snap in his return from a hamstring injury.
It will be interesting to see if everyone can turn around quickly and handle the same type of workload this Thursday night at Atlanta. But all signs point to the Saints headed in the right direction as they head down the stretch of this season.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Saints’ snap counts from Sunday’s game:
OFFENSE (69 snaps)
Quarterback – Drew Brees 69
Tight end – Jimmy Graham 51, Josh Hill 30
Fullback – Jed Collins 23
Center – Brian De La Puente 69
Thoughts: Thomas clearly remains the lead horse in the running back stable, with 35 snaps compared to 13 for Ingram. I could see more snaps for Ingram as the season goes along, but the pecking order shouldn’t change much. ... Like Graham, Colston played a large number of snaps -- a good sign that he’s feeling no ill effects from his recent knee injury. ... Evans missed four snaps while getting his ankle re-taped at one point.
DEFENSE (57 snaps)
Thoughts: As expected, linebackers Haralson and Humber played more than usual against a run-heavy team. The Saints actually featured a package with five linebackers on the field at once often during Sunday’s game. ... Harper is obviously being eased back into the lineup after missing so much time with a knee injury. He played 17 snaps in his return.