<span style="">As legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson would so eloquently state, "We are live from atop the roof at Jackson Memorial Stadium, right in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi on a sweltering August afternoon."
Despite the heat index of 104, the Saints will participate today in their annual intra-squad scrimmage. The first bus of players and coaches have arrived after making the short trip from Millsaps College with three more busloads of personnel on their way. A nice crowd has gathered for the scrimmage and many of the Saints' players and coaches' families have made the drive up from New Orleans to watch the proceedings.
NewOrleansSaints.com will provide a up-to-the-minute play-by-play and will keep fans abreast of the action and key statistics for the 72-80 play scrimmage, as well as update fans on who is staring, who is sitting and more.
Here is what Head Coach Sean Payton is looking to accomplish today during the scrimmage:
Who else do you plan on not using at all in the scrimmage?
"Let me go through who I think will not play in the scrimmage: Henderson and Porter will not, McAllister will not, McKenzie will not, Brian Young and Shockey will not. Gramatica will be there and Colston I expect to get some work. That's really it unless there's something else that I don't know about yet until I get into the staff meeting. We're still nursing the two hamstrings – which we knew we would be at this time – and when it comes to McAllister, McKenzie and Shockey, we're just traveling a little bit slower on purpose."
What do you hope to accomplish in the scrimmage?
"It's a real good chance to evaluate not only your veteran players but your young players. You go from an environment where coaches are in the huddle helping them with calls and we'll remove all that and get a chance to see what they know first off. It's a full-go scrimmage so we'll get a chance to see technique evaluation and production; those are the main areas."
Can you evaluate your defense and whether or not it's improved by what you see today?
"I think so. I think every day that we practice we're able to put on the film and see things that we're doing well or not well in all areas of the game. So I think that certainly in a scrimmage like that we can."
Is it much more difficult for the offense to play well in a scrimmage where the defense knows a lot of what they'll be seeing?
"They've practiced quite a bit against them but we'll still try to tinker with some formations and hopefully disguise some of that, but that's probably the challenge everywhere when you've gone against each other for so long. That being said, you're still looking for the execution offensively no different than you would be on defense. We're looking forward to it."
Is taking it slow with Jeremy Shockey just being careful with the leg injury?
"It's making sure that a player like him – who hadn't played football since December – making sure that he's acclimated and ready to go. It's just monitoring his snaps. We have five weeks before we even open, so we have time. In his case, along with McKenzie and along with Deuce, it's getting them up to speed and we'll see where we're at when we go to play Arizona. There's a chance we may play him some in that game, but we'll see next week on his conditioning level and how he's feeling."
Could you talk about the scrimmage format?
"It's six rolls of 12 plays. First offense-second defense for 12 plays, second offense-first defense for 12 plays, third offense-third defense 12 plays, first offense-first defense 12 plays, second O-second D 12 plays, third O-third D 12 plays. Mixed in there between each roll will be various special teams segments for us to evaluate and then we'll finish with two-minute."
So you'll only go 12 plays each?
"12 or continue a drive. If we're on play 11 and it's first down, then we're probably going to run it. If a drive continues past 12 but they're in the middle of a drive, we'll do that. If there's a three-and-out or they don't get a first down, we'll back it up to the starting point and go again. That's the plan. 72 plays if it's six rolls of 12 and then give or take, it will probably end up being closer to 80."
Now to the action:
The kickers started the scrimmage. K Martin Grammatica was for 5-for-5 on field goal attempts, including a 48-yarder to complete his turn.
Rookie K Taylor Melhaff was 4-for-4 with his longest coming from 44 yards out.
First offense vs. second defense:
Reggie Bush stopped for no gain by Josh Savage and Sedrick Ellis.
Drew Brees intended for Terrance Copper broken up by Aaron Glenn.
Drew Brees to Lance Moore for 17 yards.
Drew Brees pass incomplete intended for Terrance Copper, pass defensed Aaron Glenn.
Brees pass incomplete to David Patten, pass defensed Aaron Glenn.
Brees to Patten for gain of 12 to the Black's 41.
Bush tackled by Bobby McCray at the line of scrimmage.
Bush for 9 yard gain.
Reggie Bush for one yard and first down. Stop by Sedrick Ellis.
Drew Brees pass to RB Aaron Stecker for 11 yards to the Black 20.
Aaron Stecker for 3-yard gain.
Brees pass incomplete to Mark Campbell, broken up by Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
Drew Brees to Lance Moore for 17 yard TD.
Brees on drive was 4-of-8 for 57 yards and a TD.
Lance Moore had 2 receptions for 34 yards and a TD.
Aaron Glenn has three passes defensed.
First Team Defense vs. Second Team Offense
Mark Brunell pass incomplete intended for Robert Meachem
Brunell pass to Adrian Arrington ruled out of bounds, incompletion.
Pierre Thomas for 3 yards, stop by Kevin Kaesviharn.
Pierre Thomas gain of 2. Fumble caused by Randall Gay and recovered by Pierre Thomas.
Brunell pass incomplete for Aaron Stecker. Pressure by Roman Harper on Brunell.
Brunell pass to Buck Ortega for 4 yards. Tackled by Usama Young.
Brunell pass incomplete. Pressure by Will Smith on Brunell.
Pierre Thomas for 5 yards off the left side. Stop by Kevin Kaesviharn.
Brunell pass complete to Pierre Thomas for 4 yard gain. Stop by Mark Simoneau.
Brunell to Adrian Arrington for 7 yards. Stop by Jason David.
Aaron Stecker for 1 yard gain.
Aaron Stecker for 2 yard gain.
Brunell sacked by Scott Shanle for 8 yard loss.
Brunell to Ronnie Ghent for -2 yards. Stop by Mark Simoneau.
Brunell sacked by Charles Grant for 6 yard loss.
KOR: Skyler Green for 97 yard return for TD.
Third offense vs. third defense
Lynell Hamilton for 3 yards. Stopped by Sedrick Ellis.
Hamilton met in the backfield by Marvin Mitchell for -1 yard.
Tyler Palko pass intended for Hamilton is incomplete. Pressure Sedrick Ellis and Orien Harris.
Palko pass complete to Olaniyi Sobomehin for 4 yards.
Hamilton rushes for 5 yards.
Palko complete to Skyler Green for 47 yards. Tackle by Wally Dada.
Jermaine Allen stopped by Curome Cox for no gain.
Palko pass knocked down by Sedrick Ellis at the line of scrimmage.
Palko to Buck Ortega for 5 yards. Stopped by Wally Dada.
P Steve Weatherford connects on 57-yard punt.
Weatherford 47-yard punt.
First offense against first defense
Drew Brees pass intended for Mark Campbell incomplete. Pass defensed by Jason David.
Reggie Bush stopped after 1-yard gain by Kendrick Clancy.
Drew Brees sacked by Sedrick Ellis for 10-yard loss.
Reggie Bush for 3 yard gain. Stopped by Will Smith.
Brees pass intended for Lance Moore incomplete.
Drew Brees to David Patten for 18 yard gain.
Reggie Bush for 3 yard gain. Stopped by Kevin Kaesviharn.
Drew Brees to Reggie Bush for 6 yard completion.
Reggie Bush for 3 yard gain.
Drew Brees to Reggie Bush for 7 yard TD pass.
Drew Brees finishes his day 7-of-13 for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
Second offense vs. second defense
Brunell pass intended for Billy Miller is incomplete.
Brunell pass intended for Robert Meachem is incomplete.
Brunell to Billy Miller for 9 yard gain.
Brunell pass to Kevin Dudley for 1 yard.
Orien Harris sacks Mark Brunell for 5 yard loss.
Brunell to Aaron Stecker for 3 yards. Stopped by Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
Pierre Thomas for 2 yard gain.
Brunell deep pass ruled incomplete (juggling as he went out of bounds). Pass defensed by Aaron Glenn.
Brunell pass batted down at line of scrimmage by Marcus Pittman.
Brunell to Robert Meachem for 22-yard gain.
Brunell to Ronnie Ghent for 1 yard. Stop by Chris Reis.
Brunell pass incomplete to Aaron Stecker. Pass dropped.
Brunell to Aaron Stecker for 3 yards. Stopped by Marvin Mitchell.
Brunell finishes day 10-of-19 for 52 yards.
P Waylon Prather punts 48 yards.
Prather punts for 55 yards.