Check out the game action from the New Orleans Saints game against the Houston Texans in Week 3 of the 2023 NFL Preseason.
The 2023 NFL preseason is over. The New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans played in the final preseason game in the league on Sunday night at the Caesars Superdome with the Texans winning 17-13.
The Saints went 2-1 in preseason but more important than a winning record exited the games without any major injuries and with an offense that looks to be a definite upgrade on the 2022 version.
Up next: cuts. Every team in the league has to reduce its roster from 90 players to 53 by 3 p.m. central Tuesday. With most of the Saints roster spots already settled, almost all of the starting offense and defense did not play Sunday.
That left a combination of rookies and lightly experienced players - sprinkled in with a few veterans - to take on the Texans. A few of those vets showed they can still play. Tight end Jimmy Graham, in his second stint with the Saints, now as a 36-year-old elder statesman, grabbed a contested 25-yard pass down the right side to help set up his three-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. Graham, in his 13th season out of Miami, finished the half with three catches for 34 yards. It was Graham's first touchdown as a Saint since a four-yard touchdown from Drew Brees on Dec. 21, 2014 vs. Atlanta.
Veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith also flashed at times. Second-year defensive end Niko Lalos continued to shine, adding a sack a week after his three-sack performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. Fourth-year defensive tackle Malcolm Roach had another good outing with a sack/forced fumble in the first half.
Rookie Blake Grupe, pushing veteran Wil Lutz for the kicking job, made 38- and 50-yarders and just missed a 60-yard attempt Sunday. Rookie quarterback Jake Haener played almost three quarters and was 17 of 38 for 172 yards and two interceptions. Tight end Lucas Krull was his favorite target with seven catches for 106 yards, both team highs.
Once the rosters are set Tuesday, the Saints will have a week-and-half to prepare for the season opener Sept. 10 against the Tennessee Titans in the Caesars Superdome. The team will hold its first practice of the week Tuesday afternoon.