Check out pictures from the final open practice of Saints Training Camp with the Texans.
HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
What did you think of the work out there with the New Orleans Saints?
"Good work. Like I've said for a long time now, we get a lot out of these joint practices. They have a great coaching staff, great players. We have great players, good coaching staff, so you get a lot out of it. It was really good."
What are some things you get out of joint practices?
"You see different looks. You see different things, different ways that guys handle situations. See different facilities when you go on the road. It's a beautiful facility here and I think you have two really good pro football teams that work well together. That's good."
How beneficial is it to work against a quarterback like Saints QB Drew Brees after playing against Patriots QB Tom Brady last week?
"You're talking about one of the best to ever play the game and, just like Tom (Brady), they just keep getting better with age. I think it's a really good test for our defense to be able to go against guys like that."
What did you see from OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney back out there today?
"I have to watch the tape. It looked good. It's good to have him back out there. He loves to play. We just gave him a couple days off there back in Houston. He'll be ready to go."
How aware are you of what's going on with the weather in Houston? Has that changed anything for you guys?
"I pray for all of us back in Houston and hope everybody stays safe. Hopefully it starts to blow the other way. It's a tough deal when you have hurricane season during this time of the year and, like I said, I hope everybody stays safe."
Have you had to talk with the players about getting families out or anything like that?
"Let's see what happens, but certainly if something does happen to that effect, we'll have to address it with our players and make sure that – family comes first. It's never football over family. It's football over a lot of things, but not family – and not food, as you can tell by me. No, I'm just kidding. But, yeah, we'll see how it goes and we'll go from there."
How did you see the offense doing today, specifically at quarterbacks?
"Yeah, a little inconsistent. We were seeing some different things, but I thought overall there were some really bright spots. Some of the things that we saw in two-minute will be great to have on film and teach off of that. So, the two-minute situation was very difficult on us and that was good. That helps you during the season. I thought there were some good things today."
Can you get a little more out of joint practices at times than a game situation? Or is the game always going to give you more in terms of studying and learning about your team and the players?
"I think in the preseason, I would say you get a little bit more out of these joint practices because there's more reps. We ran 70 plays on offense, they ran 70 plays. There's just more reps for more people. I think you get a little bit more out of this. There's never a substitute for game action, but for some of our starters that got a lot of work today, you're able to gain a little bit more out of that."
With the adjustments and the cut straight down to 53, how does that change your schedule now?
"It'll be different. First of all, that's always a tough time of the year. I know it's especially tough on the players but I think it's one of the worst days for me, personally, because you have these guys out here that are really busting for you. I think the big thing is you have to have it done by I think Saturday, 3 p.m. central time, so we'll have to do a lot of work starting after the Dallas game through to that Saturday. It'll just take longer."
What would you like to see from QB Tom Savage and the offense on Saturday night?
"Continued improvement. Different team, how do we react to different blitzes that they're giving us. Different situations that come up for all three quarterbacks, especially the top two. Continue to move the football. We've had a lot of yardage in the first two games, which is good, but in the end it's about scoring points, and I thought we did a better job of that the last game than we did the first game. So, in the end, you're judged as a quarterback by two things: winning and getting your team in the end zone. That's what we need to continue to improve on."
OLB/DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
What was the best part about being back out there and getting some work?
"Being out there with my teammates. It was great. Got a lot of work in today. It was good to come out here and joint practice with the Saints. It was good to get the work before the season kicks off."
It didn't look like pressure was a problem for you out there.
"No. It's practice, man. You come out here, get better, work and get better. There wasn't any pressure."
What do you think about getting some work against Saints QB Drew Brees?
"He's great, man. One of the greatest quarterbacks to play this game. Just to come out here and get some work against him is great. We knew we were going to get a good look so, defensively, if we could come out here and guard the guys he's throwing to and make him make mistakes, it could be good for our defense."
What were you guys doing to get so much pressure up front?
"Coming up with games and just getting after it, man. We have a good front and I think we were just getting after the quarterback, just rushing to our ability and just going hard. Our secondary was locking down the receivers so it gave us time to get to him. When you put the two together it can be a good thing."
OLB Whitney Mercilus said you guys have a friendly competition about who can get to the quarterback first.
"Oh, yeah. It's great. We're going at it. Me, him, J.J. (Watt), D.J. (Reader), everybody up front. I think we take pride in competing with each other. First one to the ball, to the quarterback, is what we come out here and try to do. When you have all the guys wanting to have that attitude, the sky's the limit for this defense."
What are some things about your game that you wanted to work on before the regular season?
"Really just pass rushing, like always. Working on my pass rush skills. If I can take that part of my game to the next level I think I can be even better than I've been."
Did you get any reps against Saints T Ryan Ramczyk? What did you think?
"Yeah, I got some reps against him. He's pretty good. It was good work. We went at, competed, and just had a good practice."
Can joint practices be more useful for starters who may not play very much in the preseason games?
"I think so. I think it's more useful to come out here and joint practice. You get a lot of one-on-one looks going against the offense, you get to make corrections off the film before you get to the game, to lead up to the game. So, I think it helps out a lot."
How do you feel?
"I feel great. Going to get this workout in and get ready for tomorrow."
CB TRESTON DECOUD
What kind of moment was it to be here and get work in against that group?
"It was great, man, just to be home, first of all, with the family here and their support. It was great to be back in New Orleans. It was great. Great team, great receivers, so it was great to get that work in."
What was it like to go against a great quarterback in Saints QB Drew Brees?
"Well, I didn't get to see him, but hopefully one day I'll get to see him. But I watched him. He's as great as everybody says."
Did you grow up a Saints fan?
"No, I was a Cowboys fan."
Having a chance to be with your family just now, did you dream of this?
"Yeah, this is one of the dreams, to actually play against the Saints or play with the Saints and your family could come see. I'm on the other side playing against them but for my family to be here, it meant a lot to me just to see their faces and how proud they are and (for them to) tell me how proud they are of me. It was definitely a moment that I always dreamed about and it was a moment that I've been waiting for my whole life."
What did you think of Saints WR Michael Thomas?
"He's big for a receiver. All hops off of him. I don't really know him very well, but he's a good receiver."
What do you want to accomplish in the game?
"I just want to help my team win."
OLB WHITNEY MERCILUS
How exciting is it to get the whole defensive unit back out there and work with the Saints?
"Man, it's super exciting, especially to have J.J. (Watt), JD (Jadeveon Clowney) back. Back to full strength, pretty much, for the defense and all that and get some work against the Saints and against Drew Brees. He's great. He gets the ball out quick, of course. He runs the offense, everything goes through him, so it's great work for us to understand what we've got to work on. Still got things to work on out there. Blew a couple assignments and all that. We'll go back to the drawing board."
It looks like you guys are trying to play chess against Saints QB Drew Brees out there. He's a pretty good chess player, isn't he?
"He is, and there's a reason why he's so great and he's a Super Bowl quarterback, of course. We love it, we love the competition and definitely will be back here tomorrow."
How tough can it be for offenses when all of your pass rushers are out there?
"It's difficult to go against our kind of defense with guys who are so versatile, guys who can rush, who can cover, who can play the run, things like that. It's awesome to have those types of guys, like JD (Jadeveon Clowney) and J.J. (Watt), everybody, because we can mix it up, play different fronts and confuse offenses."
How important is it to prepare against a guy like Saints QB Drew Brees as you get ready for the regular season?
"I think it's important. Every game is important, of course, especially against the New Orleans Saints, against Drew Brees, who gives us a good look just like Tom Brady last week. Those guys know how to read defenses, they understand when and what to run at us and understand what we're doing to them. So, it's very challenging."
How much are you paying attention to what's going on back home with the storm?
"I definitely keep an eye (on it). I've got family back there, of course. I hope everybody's safe. Everybody from the fans to my family and all that and hopefully everybody stays away from the flood, as we've had some issues for the last few years."
As a starter who doesn't play much in the preseason, do you get more out of the joint practices or preseason games?
"I mean, I get a lot from both. Sometimes in the games there's situations that come up that they'll just like to run at us. But also, the joint practices, you get a whole lot out of it because you can sit there and you can actually talk to the guys across the ball. Actually (ask), 'Hey, Drew (Brees), what are you looking at? What do you think about this?' Things like that, so it's pretty cool. We're all friends on the field, enemies when it comes to gamedays."
How fun is that friendly competition to be the first one to get to the quarterback?
''It's a race to the quarterback, man, to see who can get there first, honestly. It's great to have guys and build a little bit of a friendly competition amongst ourselves. That's what we like to do."
QB TOM SAVAGE
Last week you were able to watch Patriots QB Tom Brady and this week you are watching Saints QB Drew Brees. What are your thoughts on that?
"It's awesome. Obviously, two of the best quarterbacks in this league. It's good to be able to watch how he operates and how he handles the offense. It's all good."
What do you think about what your offense did today?
"I thought we did some good things. We put the ball in the end zone. We turned it over once. It's the second interception of training camp. I have to limit that, but other than that, I thought we did good."
Are you concerned about the weather back home in Houston?
"Yeah, I'm not a weather guy. I use WeatherBug. That's all I know. I know my house is sitting on cinder blocks at home, so I'm fine there. I'm just here focusing on football and hopefully everyone is safe back home."
What were you seeing during the two-minute drill today overall?
"Obviously, they were throwing some things at us that we didn't see and we have to prepare for it. That's the good thing about going against another team. It's reactionary football. You have to go out there and you have to react and you have to be able to make plays. We'll watch it on film and we'll get better from there."
What did it mean to you that Head Coach Bill O'Brien was so complimentary of you this preseason?
"Obviously whenever a head coach gives you a compliment like that, it's awesome, but you take it for what it's worth and you have to go out there and you have to earn it every day and just keep working hard. That's what I'm going to continue to do."
What would you like to get done during the third preseason game?
"Kind of just piggy back off what we did last preseason game. Start the game fast, score some touchdowns and at the end of the day get the win."
You saw this defense last year during the preseason. Is there anything different that you noticed?
"They're a talented group and they bring some things. We just have to be ready for it. We have to be all be on the same page and execute what we do."
Are there some specific things you would like to work on during preseason game three?
"Obviously just be perfect with protecting the ball and not turning the ball over. And, like I just said, we have to score and let's finish this preseason off the right way."
When you around quarterbacks like Saints QB Drew Brees, is it sponge mentality, even if you are just watching him and picking up everything you can?
"Yeah, absolutely. Just the way he operates, the way he handles himself, his body language, everything. He's one of the greatest of all-time. I played against the greatest of all-time last week. It's awesome to be able to sit there and watch and kind of take parts of his game and try to implement it in your own game."
Where do you think you've gotten better?
"Just consistency. Getting the ball out of your hands quick, not taking unnecessary hits. I think just consistently trying to move the ball."
How did you speed up your internal clock?
"Preparation is number one. You have to know what the defense is doing. In this league, if you are reacting out there, it's too late. You have to know and you have to expect what this defense is doing and what their blitzes are and what their coverages are and be on the same page with your receivers and throw it on time."
How do you feel you are at getting the ball out of your hands quicker than in the past?
"I think I'm doing a good job. Obviously, we just have to keep working at it. Like I just said right there, just have to keep preparing and knowing the looks that you are going to see and knowing where you need to go and understanding where your checkdowns are."