The New Orleans Saints dropped to 0-1 in the preseason after falling 34-22 at New England last Thursday night, and will look to rebound at the 1-0 Houston Texans on Saturday at 7 p.m. at NRG Stadium. The two clubs have met eight times in the preseason, splitting the series. This will be the second consecutive season that the two teams meet in the preseason and the eighth time over the last nine years.
In the regular season, the Saints and Texans have met four times, with the clubs splitting the series. The last meeting between the two teams came in a Week 12 contest in 2015 that saw the Texans claim a 24-6 victory over the Saints. Like with their preseason Week One opponents, the Patriots, New Orleans will take the field on Saturday with a familiarity on both sides of the ball, as the teams are scheduled for joint practices on Thursday and Friday. Following the matchup with the Texans, the Saints return to their Metairie facility for their final phase of training camp, before hosting their first home preseason game of 2016 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Aug. 26 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
QB Drew Brees appeared to be in midseason form in the team's preseason opener at Gillette Stadium, completing his only pass attempt, a 37-yard strike to WR Brandin Cooks down the right sideline. With Brees sitting after the first three-play series, backup QBs Garrett Grayson and Luke McCown played extensively for the rest of the game. Relieving Brees in the first quarter and playing the remainder of the first half, Grayson completed 10-of-16 passes for 133 yards with one interception, while McCown played the entire second half and finished with 143 yards on 18-of-27 passing with one touchdown and one interception.
Several offensive players provided bright spots, adding potential to a unit ranked second in the NFL in 2015. RB Mark Ingram posted two rushing touchdowns. Second- round draft choice, WR Michael Thomas showed why there has been so much excitement for him throughout camp, as he made a team-high four receptions for a team- high 67 yards, including a toe-tapping, first quarter 25-yard catch along the sidelines. Undrafted rookie free agent WR Tommylee Lewis proved to be an effective player on both offense and special teams, catching three passes for 38 yards, returning one kick for 24 yards and one punt for 19 yards, and adding a rush for a two-point conversion early in the first quarter.
Defensively, the unit looked promising with new additions in LBs James Laurinaitis, Nate Stupar and Craig Robertson, each making plays at different points in the game. Robertson tallied a team-high six tackles, while Stupar added a key pass breakup in the end zone that prevented a touchdown. On the edge, DE Kasim Edebali supplied two sacks in the opening quarter.
RB/RS Marcus Murphy provided a spark in the return game, posting two kickoff returns for 45 yards and adding 61 yards on three punt returns, including a 48-yard runback. In all, Murphy totaled 146 all-purpose yards.