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New Orleans Saints approve of first day of joint practice

'It's not where you want to be, but it was better than last year'

The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers teamed up for a joint practice prior to their Preseason Week 3 matchup.

Costa Mesa, Calif. – There was no scoreboard charting wins and losses during Wednesday's joint practice with the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers at Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

That was the case last year, too. But the Saints knew the score after the first of two workouts in 2017: The Chargers walked off the field having established an advantage. And the Saints were determined to not allow that to happen again.

New Orleans submitted work that it was much more satisfied with Wednesday, the first of another two-day practice session with the Chargers. The teams will play their preseason game Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson.

"I think it went well today," cornerback Marshon Lattimore said. "It went better than last year. Last year, we came out (and) we were sluggish and they got us in every phase. But this go around, we studied up a little bit. It's not where you want it to be, but it was better than last year and we're just going to build on that."

"I think there was just more energy (than last year)," quarterback Drew Brees said. "Obviously, traveling on the plane four hours, get in late last night and then wake up and go right to practice, that's tough on the body. But guys were able to get themselves ready and got out here and I think we got a lot of good work done."

The practices give the Saints a chance to work against an opponent and, likely, get as many (or more) reps as they will during the preseason game. And they're a welcome interruption to the monotony that can accompany practicing against teammates for months.

"The one big thing is, it changes the routine, and I think that's good in our league because we're constantly changing," Coach Sean Payton said. "But also, you're working against a different defense than your own and I don't mean just a different defense, but how they play defense. It's different. The coverage schemes are different. What they do offensively – specifically with the run game – what they do with certain formations.

"They're different and I think when you do that, especially for two or three days like we are, you have a chance to see some of the weaknesses or holes in certain areas that we haven't seen at home against our own offense and defense. So I think it's good when you have a chance to change the routine up and get good work with another team, and another team that's doing the same thing."

"It was just fun," receiver Michael Thomas said. "You want to go against another well-rounded team, competitive team that knows how to practice. A really strong defense.

"Just to come out here and go against them keeps you honest and allows us to see what we've been cooking up in New Orleans, how it works across the league. And although there are more teams, this is a starting point. We get to come out here and compete against guys, learn new techniques and just see how you stack up against guys across the league."

For each team, the change guaranteed ratcheting up the competitive fires.

"I thought we played with good tempo," Brees said. "I thought we did some good things. When we go look at the tape, I'm sure there are some things that'll stick out that we can improve upon.

"But it's always nice to change it up, kind of kick the competition up a little bit, too. It's been a competitive camp for us but at some point, you get tired of going up against your own defense and own offense day after day. It's good work for us and hopefully there's a lot that we can learn from it."

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