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Black and Gold Notes

    **Black & Gold Scrimmage Notebook**  

A lengthy morning rain shower in Metairie forced the Black & Gold Scrimmage to be held at the club's indoor facility. The scrimmage was played under the rule of "Full-Go-Up," meaning the officials who were at the practice – including a couple of NFL veterans who have been in town this week to sharpen their skills and help the players – were using their best judgment in deciding when the offensive player would have been tackled. There was plenty of hitting, and a few tackles to the ground, but the intent was to stop a player without bringing him to the turf…QB Drew Brees was excused from the day's practice because of personal reasons…The first-team offense started off against the second defensive unit, with QB Mark Brunell leading the offense. One thing was extremely evident from the start – the sharpness of Brunell's passing, and that WR Marques Colston is already in regular-season form. Brunell completed his first three passes, first finding Colston and TE Jeremy Shockey, and then lofted a nifty screen to RB Pierre Thomas over the outstretched arms of DE Bobby McCray for a 15-yard gain. But on the next play LB Thomas Morstead/Mark Simoneau.aspx">Mark Simoneau forced a fumble by RB Mike Bell and recovered it, ending the drive. Simoneau had knifed through traffic to make the kind of turnover that has been stressed throughout training camp, but suffered an injured arm later in the scrimmage…With the offensive possession now reset, Brunell immediately found Colston for a 27-yard gain. Two plays later, it was Colston again for 18 yards. Brunell would eventually cap the drive with a lefty rollout, finding Colston on a short TD toss. The veteran quarterback would end up completing his first six passes, and during the offense's first 15 plays, Colston had six grabs for 58 yards. Brunell's thoughts on being the starter and looking for Colston so much early? "I'm smart. Look for the big guy who can catch." …S Roman Harper made a sliding interception near the right sideline, jumped up and weaved around the field for a 25-yard return…Rookie RB Garrett Hartley/P,-d-,J,-d-, Hill.aspx">P.J. Hill turned heads a few times with his rugged running, including a quick burst over the right side for 10 yards…With Darren Sharper on the sidelines, S Usama Young looked promising. He filled holes quickly against the run, immediately closed on a few screens – once coming in hot to put a loud pop on Thomas – and earned consistent praise from defensive backs coach Dennis Allen for his efforts. Young also made a quick play in coverage to stop Shockey well short of a first down, with the fiery tight end slamming the ball to the turf. Shockey would make a big catch on the following down for a 26-yard gain. Sharper is expected to be back at practice on Monday…DE Charles Grant was credited with a sack, ending one play after arriving in the backfield moments after a play-action fake…WR Devery Henderson turned in the best punt return, jittering after hauling in the ball before accelerating down the right sideline. Henderson is currently a few down the depth chart as the punt returner, but his speed on this particular return left the coverage behind…CB Jason David intercepted Brunell late in the scrimmage, slipping quickly in front of the intended target…K Garrett Hartley drilled all six of his field goal attempts…WR Rod Harper turned his body for a 45-yard grab in action between third-team units…Carl Nicks, the starter at left guard, took a handful of late reps at left tackle. Nicks played the position while at Nebraska. "We wanted to see how he'd do," said Coach Sean Payton. "When you go into a game and you're dressing seven or eight offensive linemen, you have to have a couple of guys who can swing between positions." …Players are off until meetings tomorrow afternoon…LB Scott Fujita returned after a one-day excused absence for personal reasons…The first 10 days of training camp are in the books. "I'm pleased with the progress we've made," said Payton, "but we have a long way to go."

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