METAIRIE, La. (AP) -New Orleans coach Sean Payton is planning on working some regulars into the Saints' preseason finale as he tries to finalize the roster for the opener against Tampa Bay.
Payton said he intends to play tight end Jeremy Shockey, running back Deuce McAllister, safety Josh Bullocks and cornerback Mike McKenzie in the exhibition matchup against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday because those regulars missed games earlier in the preseason, or in Shockey's case, have yet to play at all.
``Those guys will be guys that we want to see X number of snaps from just because they haven't had as many (plays) as some of the other players have had,'' Payton said.
New Orleans cut receiver Todd Blythe, safety Curome Cox, fullback Kevin Dudley, center Rob Hunt and punter Waylon Prather on Monday to get down to 75 players before Tuesday's deadline.
Final cuts likely will come on Friday, when Payton said he expects to trim 22 players off the roster, though some could be re-signed to the eight-man practice squad if they clear waivers.
Last season, Payton sat out most starters in the final preseason game. He said he expects to do the same against Miami.
He said Drew Brees probably will not play. Reggie Bush was limited in practice because of a lingering right leg bruise from Saturday night's 13-0 victory at Cincinnati. But Payton declined to discuss specific injuries or who he definitely intends to hold out of the preseason finale.
League rules do not require Payton to say anything publicly about injuries until the Wednesday before the Sept. 7 opener at home against the Buccaneers.
Last week, Payton said Shockey was going to play in Cincinnati, but then, shortly before kickoff, notified the four-time Pro Bowl tight end he would be held out of the game.
Payton said he did not mean to mislead Shockey, but wanted to see him practice during the full week leading up to the game as if he expected to play.
Shockey said he understood.
``It was a little frustrating because I thought I had a pretty good week of practice and I prepared like I was going to play the game,'' Shockey said. ``But coach Payton's job is to make sure every player is 100 percent. That was his decision and I respect it. It's something as a player you want to play, but I think he's looking at the best interest of the player.''
McAllister, coming off his second knee reconstruction in three seasons, sat out the preseason opener and then saw limited action in the past two exhibition games. He has looked solid, gaining positive yards on most plays, but hasn't had any big gains.
McKenzie, who had reconstructive knee surgery late last year, missed the first two preseason games but started Saturday night in Cincinnati and nearly had an interception.
Bullocks, a three-year starter, has been slowed by right knee soreness stemming from arthroscopic surgery in the offseason.
Meanwhile, Payton hopes to see more from kicker Taylor Mehlhaff, a sixth-round draft choice competing with nine-year veteran Martin Gramatica for a roster spot.
Mehlhaff has a strong left leg, with the proven ability to knock kickoffs through the end zone for touchbacks, but has been inconsistent in preseason games.
``It's been boom or bust,'' Payton said.

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