The Saints imported several defensive lineman in during the offseason, to strengthen the team in stopping the run, but the Who Dat Nation didn't see any improvement on Saturday night.
It took until the sixth preseason possession, but Drew Brees' rebooted the Saints offense and it scored its first touchdown. The Saints looked good on their first drive with Payton mixing time for running backs Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles. All three made contributions and Ingram scored the only touchdown for the first offense on a powerful 1-yard run. Fullback Jed Collins blocked well for them.
The Saints' first drive ended with Brees getting hit after a missed block and fumbling in the red zone. Rather than wrap up the fumble, he tried to pick it and so he could throw it. Brees completed 7-of-14 passes for 109 yards. The Texans scored 17 points against the Saints' starting defense that was dominant in the opener against the 49ers
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel didn't enjoy a game like he had against the 49ers, but he threw a beautiful 56-yard pass to rookie Joseph Morgan who didn't break his stride for the Saints' second score of the game. Morgan will be a tough cut.
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' defensive unit was unusually conservative, probably saving his best blitzes for the third game of the regular season against the Texans in the Superdome.
One of the highlights of the game was the running of backup running back Tate, who sat out last week with a hamstring injury. Saints fans who follow the SEC, watched Tate at Auburn. He replaced Foster late in the first quarter and rushed 9 times for 95 yards. That's a 10.6-yard average. He broke arm tackles, made quick cuts, had good instincts and bounced outside when there was nothing between the tackles.
Right tackle Zach Strief got a passing mark for his play against the Texans' Mario Williams and the Houston defense.
Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins sat this one out, and Paul Oliver had trouble in coverage several times and missed an open-field tackle on Foster, last season's NFL rushing leader.
Jonathan Casillas got the start at weakside linebacker over Scott Shanle and was flagged for an unecessary roughness penalty for a late hit.
Despite having a crowded backfield, Patrick Cobbs, who was signed last week as a strong special-teams player, could find a spot among the running backs as well.
Daniel went 7-of-14 for 127 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Left-hander Sean Canfield took over in the fourth quarter and finished the game 4-of-8 for 50 yards.
Thomas, running as hard as ever, led the Saints in rushing with 33 yards on 6 carries. Ingram had another solid performance as he notched 25 yards on 7 carries and Sproles chipped in with 3 carries for 24 yards.
Tight end Jimmy Graham, wide receivers Lance Moore, Montez Billings and Adrian Arrington had two catches. Cornerback Jabari Greer led the Saints defense with six total tackles.
Saints flew to Oxnard, Cal., after the game for their final week of training camp Sunday through Saturday at the Residence Inn by Marriott at River Ridge. The Saints will maintain their afternoon schedule on Monday from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Oxnard's mild, low to mid-70 degree temperatures and decreased humidity is perfect for training. Following a walk-though on Saturday morning, the Saints will depart for Oakland where they will meet the Raiders on Sunday for their third preseason game.
SAINTS NOTEBOOK: CB Tracy Porter (knee) sat out this game...Saints GM Mickey Loomis of the battle between Zach Strief and Charles Brown for the starting Right tackle spot: "There's no bad choice." Strief figures to be the starter...Sean Payton said TD Aubrayo Franklin suffered a sprained knee and RB Chris Taylor left the game with a right foot injury...Former Oilers and Saints coach Bum Phillips was on hand for a halftime presentation...The paid attendance of 70,828 was the largest crowd in Texans preseason history...Former LSU receiver Torrence Toliver played late in the game and didn't catch a pass. Ex LSU sprinter-kick returner was on the inactive list. He spent last season on the injured reserve (thumb) list. He is the only NFL player shorter than Darren Sproles at 5-5, an inch shorter than Sproles...
As Olin Kreutz continues to learn the offense for the Saints, the veteran center has one thing he can look forward to: playing his former team in Week 2. The Bears come calling to the Superdome on Sept. 18 and Kreutsz was a captain for the Bears and a six-time Pro Bowl selection during a 13-year career. "I don't know," Kreutz told Dan Pompei of nationalfootballpost.com. "It will be tough enough to play against them. But you have to play. "Kreutz's exit from Chicago created a slew of storylines and then the Bears allowed nine sacks in a preseason victory over the Bills, four while the starting unit was in the game. "I have a lot of respect for those guys," said Kreutz. "They don't have to keep hearing about me. That's wrong. I don't need to put more pressure on them. They've heard about me enough." Maybe Kruetz should sit this one out...
RIP: Ben Abadie, 89, former Tulane baseball coach has died. He coached from 1955-57 and from 1964-66. ..According to CNBC sports business the LSU/Oregon Cowboys Classic on Sept. 3 in the most expensive college football ticket on the market going into the season. Average ticket price is $560.23. Tickets for the Tigers' game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5 is the 10th most expensive ticket at $420.93. You can get the best seat in the house for $737...Single-game tickets for LSU home football games against Northwestern State, Kentucky and Western Kentucky will go on sale to the general public starting on Saturday. Prices for individual games tickets are $50 for Kentucky and $40 each for Northwesern State and WesternKentucky. Home games agaisnt Florida and Auburn are sold out. Tickets will be available over the internet at LSUtix.net, oveer the phone at 800.960.8587 or 225.578.2184 or in person at the LSU Athletics Ticket Office located on the first floor of the Athletic Administration Building...
by Ed Staton
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