--Second-year pro Cie Grant, who was expected to make a run at the starting middle linebacker job this summer, won't be doing any running at all this season. A third-round draft pick in 2003, Grant was placed on injured reserve last week and will miss the entire season.
Grant, who injured his right knee and underwent surgery just before the regular-season opener last year, saw his shot at earning the job in the middle disappear when he hyperextended his left knee in the team's sixth training camp practice on Aug. 2.
He sat out several days of practice and returned for the Black & Gold Scrimmage on Aug. 7, but hasn't practiced since then because of swelling and tendinitis in his patellar tendon.
While coach Jim Haslett said Grant won't need surgery, the team just thought it was best to shut him down after missing so much practice time.
"We thought it was the best thing to do, to start from square one and let him get healthy," said Haslett. "I hope this is something where we just rest him for a couple of months and then start over."
--Second-year pro Montrae Holland has won the starting spot at right guard after a spirited training camp battle with veteran Jamar Nesbit, who came to the Saints as an unrestricted free agent from the Jacksonville Jaguars this spring.
Haslett said that Holland, who split first-team repetitions with Nesbit throughout camp and the first three exhibition games, would start the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 12.
Fred Thomas will be the starter on the right side with Brown backing up Ambrose and working as the third corner in the nickel and dime packages.
Brown, a former starter with the San Diego Chargers, has been one of the team's most improved players from last season to the end of this year's training camp, Haslett said.
--The Saints claimed linebacker Billy Strother off waivers from the Washington Redskins to take Grant's spot on the roster.
Strother, who signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent this spring, played his college football at New Mexico and started all 13 games last season.
BY THE NUMBERS
77 -- Touchdown passes in 2001-03 for quarterback Aaron Brooks, the highest three-year total in club history. Jim Everett had 60 from 1994-96.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"For three years, we've been just one game away from the playoffs. That stinks. Being that close and not being able to overcome it doesn't feel good. We have got to do better and fulfill our goals this season." -- QB Aaron Brooks on the Saints' postseason hopes.
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