While the Wednesday morning practice with the Houston Texans was a bit intense and physical, the afternoon session indoors was a bit more laid back.
Coach Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints had another joint practice this afternoon and while it was played at a slower level than earlier, the Texans still managed to get the overall win. It appeared as if the defense was just a little behind no matter who was in at quarterback for the Texans, and that’s not a good sign.
Texans’ coach Gary Kubiak did not have his players in pads at all for this afternoon’s session, but they were still bringing their game in preparation for Saturday’s contest. Lots of big time passing plays from all the quarterbacks on the roster so it seems as if the Texans will be about airing it out this season.
Few more names sat out today, so let’s run through them real quick.
Darren Sharper and Clint Ingram were out of course. Marcus Mailei, Jimmy Graham, Stanley Arnoux, and Usama Young still sat out. Heath Evans, Jimmy Wilkerson, and Ladell Betts were also on the sidelines this afternoon probably to not overdo it for either player after this morning.
For the Texans, tight ends Owen Daniels and Anthony Hill are both on the PUP list so they were out. Also sitting out was DeMeco Ryans, Mario Williams, and Andre Johnson. It was said that Kubiak likes to sit some veterans during two-a-days.
Random observations and notes from practice:
~ Another bad practice for Chase Daniel as he was picked off during 11-on-11 drills. Needless to say, but Daniel didn’t remain in at quarterback much longer. This week just keeps getting worse and worse for the young quarterback.
~ After a few false start penalties, offensive guard Carl Nicks has been demoted to the second team while Terrence Metcalf has replaced him as the starter. No word on just how long this switch will last, but it shows that Payton and the Saints’ coaching staff is not putting up with mental errors in training camp.
The afternoon practice did see him back with the first team some, but it’s clear that a message is being sent to the whole team.
So far players have had to run laps for penalties or dropping passes and even do push-ups when they miss an easy interception. Nothing is a given in camp this year no matter how long you’ve been in the league.
~ The Saints’ run defense did hold their own against the tandem of Steve Slaton and Arian Foster, often stopping them for losses or only minimal gains. Any holes in the middle of the line when the play began closed up quickly each time.
~ Jabari Greer also had an off practice which included a penalty and getting burnt bad on a long ball. Both plays that negatively affected Greer came at the hands of wide receiver Kevin Walter. Greer was called early on for a pass interference penalty that he obviously didn’t agree with. A bit later, Walter made one move and sprinted down the sideline leaving Greer way behind and catching the long pass for the score.
~ Patrick Ramsey fell victim to an interception as well during 11-on-11 drills when Darryl Sharpton stepped in front of a pass intended for David Thomas.
~ Not all was bad though as Drew Brees completed a long pass to Pierre Thomas who made a good move to get around safety Bernard Pollard and go in for the touchdown.
After practice, Texans’ running back Steve Slaton stopped to chat with me for a few minutes and give his views on the upcoming season.
After ending last season on the IR, are you fully healed for this year?
“Yeah I’m fully healed and got cleared a couple months ago. I’m just really excited to be back out here again.“
One of the main issues last year was your problem with fumbling, how are you trying to correct that?
“The thing last year is why I went on IR…an injury. But this year is a new year and it really hasn’t started yet. We’re just in preseason training camp and I’m just working on it. It’s my job to hold onto the ball to the best of my abilities.“
How do you feel about the progression of Arian Foster?
“He’s progressed well. As a whole group actually, I think we’re getting better competitively just team wise. I’m really excited for this year.“
Last year the Texans came very close and finished well, what is your outlook for upcoming season?
“The sky’s the limit. Whatever you put in is what you get out of it. We all try to work hard and reach our goals and our goal is to win.
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