Wednesday’s practice for the New Orleans Saints saw some different colors running around the field. No longer just the black and gold, but now the red and blue of the Houston Texans.
Coach Gary Kubiak brought his Texans into town in order to have some practice sessions with the Saints before their preseason game this Saturday in the Louisiana Superdome. The practice this morning was rather intense and seemed much more physical than those against the New England Patriots from last week. At least this year though, all fights have been avoided between these two teams.
Well, at least for now.
Your injury list for the Saints keeps on getting shorter and shorter which is a good sign, but there are a couple names on it still that fans would like to see come off.
Darren Sharper and Clint Ingram remain on the Active PUP list, but Sharper is truly hoping to return in time to get some playing experience in the preseason. When asked if he’d be back on the field by September 9, Sharper is keeping positive.
“I hope so. I still have about three or so weeks so I have time. My goal is to get back for that game. And now with Brett coming back…it makes it a little bit more of an incentive to get back.”
When asked though if he’d like to return sooner, perhaps in the preseason, it seems Sharper is anxious to get out there as soon as possible.
“Yes definitely. I definitely want to get in for one of the final two preseason games. I want to get some live action before it really counts.“
Usama Young, Marcus Mailei, Stanley Arnoux, and Jimmy Graham were still on the sidelines as well. Jonathan Casillas returned to practice and was in full pads. Ladell Betts was also surprisingly in pads today and taking part in practice drills.
Drew Brees let his take be known on Betts and what he can add to the team.
“Before he got here, I had never met Ladell Betts before, but everything that I had heard about him as a teammate and a player and everything I had seen on film…was that he’s a solid football player and a solid locker room guy. I’m glad he’s on our team now.“
Knowing Betts’ addition came at the expense of Lynell Hamilton, Brees knows it is just how things work in football.
“Unfortunately with the circumstances with Lynell Hamilton going and obviously that’s what allowed Ladell Betts to come in. But I think he can be a guy that can add an element and a dimension to our offense.“
Random notes and observations from Saints Vs. Texans practice:
~ Former LSU Tiger and current Houston Texans’ rookie Trindon Holliday took part in punt return drills and got a rousing cheer of “Geaux Tigers” from the fans in attendance. Holliday is happy to be back in Louisiana for the time being and t get his chance in the NFL.
“Oh yeah, it’s been a great experience for me and showing the coaches just what I can do. I take nothing personally and anything told to me by the coaches is just used as motivation. Coach is just getting on you to let you know that they count on you and you have to do better because the team is counting on you.“
~ During 8-on-8 drills (no offensive or defensive lines), the Saints’ offense looked really good against a stout group of Texans’ defensive backs. One play saw Brees lay a gorgeous pass over a Texans’ defender and right over the shoulder of Lance Moore for a big gain down the sideline.
~ Patrick Ramsey (might as well call him back-up) is doing nothing but impressing more and more every single day. Ramsey was completing passes left and right including a wide open look to Rod Harper down the left sideline for a ten yard gain. It really does appear to me as if the rust is gone and Ramsey is actually finding the form that gained him so much attention while at Tulane.
~ Chase Daniel and Sean Canfield both also sadly continue to struggle. Daniel didn’t get much of a chance out there and did complete a nice pass to Zak Keasey but it was for a minimal gain of five.
Canfield just looks totally out of sorts. When he had time to sit back in the pocket and throw, he ended up passing the ball to the feet of the receiver. Strangely enough, he was able to complete a nice pass on a roll out while under pressure. It still is not looking good for Canfield to even make the practice squad.
~ Play of the Day: During 11-on-11 drills, Ramsey couldn’t find anyone open as the Texans began applying pressure. Ramsey bought an extra couple seconds and threw a high pass out to tight end David Thomas who leaped up and hauled it in as he fell to the ground for the completion with a defender on his back.
~ The Saints are going to need to do some extra work in order to stop players like DeMario Williams. Williams seemed to be in the offensive backfield for half of the day and he would have had a sack too if this were a real game. There aren’t many like the beast Williams in the NFL, but the Saints must learn to tighten up the protection in order to keep Brees safe.
PRACTICE UPDATE: This morning’s practice was cut short due to the rain and therefore this afternoon’s practice will try to be outside and open to the public, but chances are it’s going to be moved indoors and closed to the public.
After practice, there was a particular topic that seemed to come up to most of the Saints’ staff when interview and that’s about Brett Favre. Both Drew Brees and Darren Sharper all gave their thoughts on the return of Favre.
Darren Sharper expressed “shock” at first.
“Does it really (look like Brett will be back)? I didn’t believe all that (retirement stuff).
You have a mixed group. Guys that know Brett brings a lot to that team, but also guys that like to have everyone there grinding and sweating the whole training camp. But I think once Brett comes back and starts to play like he did last year, all this will be forgotten and they’ll be happy to have him back.“
Drew Brees gave a bit of a simpler response when Favre’s return was mentioned. Brees simply smiled and said, “No surprise.“
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