When training camp started, wide receiver Andy Tanner was a long shot at best to make the Saints' 53-man roster. He has changed the conversation the only way possible -- by making play after play, day after day.

He still likely is on the outside looking in, but the door has cracked open a bit.

“We know who he is,” interim coach Joe Vitt said. “He’s a slot receiver who can get off a jam, can work the middle of a zone defense, can make the tough catch, can separate from safeties and linebackers. He feels confident and he’s not scared to make catches between the numbers.”

The only problem for Tanner? The Saints already have a player who fits that description -- Lance Moore, an established starter who is faster and has caught eight or more touchdown passes in three of the last four years.

Picked up by the Saints as an undrafted free agent in May of 2010, Tanner has been signed to and released from the practice squad 13 times, never making the active roster.

“It can be a little frustrating, but I’ve never let it get me down,” he said. “I never get frustrated at myself, and I just try to make plays.”

Tanner played in college at Division II Midwestern State, catching 120 passes for 1,716 yards and 20 touchdowns. It only seems as if he has made that many receptions in training camp the past three weeks.

“I feel a little more comfortable with the playbook,” he said. “In the huddle when I hear the play I know exactly what to do. Reading the defense is becoming a little easier to me, and I’ve been working on running crisper routes since I got here.”

Injuries to wide receivers Adrian Arrington and Nick Toon have helped Tanner’s chances. While they missed the Saints’ first two preseason games (and will not play Friday against Jacksonville), Tanner had eight catches for 120 yards. He is competing with them and fellow undrafted free agent Joe Morgan (four catches, 42 yards in the preseason) for the final two roster spots at receiver.

Morgan is mercurial, following spectacular long catches with routine drops. Tanner has been Mr. Consistent.

“Anytime I get a chance, I need to make a play,” Tanner said. “We have a couple of injured guys, so that’s given me more plays. I’ve always prided myself on catching everything. Ever since high school, I’ve told myself if it touches my hands, I believe I should catch it.”

Follow Saints reporter Guerry Smith on twitter @CBSSportsNFLNO.