<span> <span style="">Metairie, La.</span> - Thirty minutes before the start of this afternoon's slated 3:00 p.m. commencement of a joint afternoon practice session heavy rains pounded the Saints' facility and fields, leaving some to question whether the practice would have to be moved indoors.
Yet, the Saints' practice fields held up extremely well to the wear-and-tear of the 160 players on the field and footing rarely seemed to be an issue as the team's were able to get in a highly productive practice session.
After the initial deluge of rain both squads were on the field for nearly two hours with the majority of the work focusing on two-minutes drills, red zone and short yardage passing drills and team drills.
Just as the two teams did this morning, the Saints' offense worked against the Texans' defense while the Texans' offense worked against the Saints' defense. The players once again wore shoulder pads, helmets and shorts, and while the afternoon session was spirited and competitive, there were not any fracases or skirmishes.
The Saints' offense, working on the field closest to the baseball stadium, began the team drill with a nice five-yard gain by RB Reggie Bush.
*QB Drew Brees then hooked up with WR David Patten, who was given the morning session off by Head Coach Sean Payton, for a perfectly timed 16-yard pass across the middle. Brees took advantage of nice pass protection afforded to him by his offensive line and fired the strike to Patten.
*Brees then completed a 12-yard pass to WR Marques Colston, and RB Deuce McAllister managed three yards on an inside handoff.
*RB Aaron Stecker had a seven-yard gain through the middle as he followed his blockers for the first down.
*QB Mark Brunell was in for a few plays and completed several passes to different options but was sacked on a third down by long-time NFL veteran DE N.D. Kalu. Brunell and Kalu are familiar of each other from their recent forays in the NFC East, with Brunell having most recently played for the Washington Redskins and Kalu for the Philadelphia Eagles.
*The two-minute offensive of the Saints had a few rough patches, as the starting offense for the Saints was halted on a fourth down courtesy of a perfectly timed pass defensed by SS C.C. Brown. The fourth-year defender from Louisiana-Lafayette hammered the ball out of TE Billy Miller's hands as Miller landed after it initially appeared he had made a nice reception over the middle that would have been good for a first down.
*The Saints' second string offense, led by Brunell, moved the ball effectively against the Texans' second string defense, but the Saints came up empty in the end zone after a Brunell pass was picked off by a diving Derrick Roberson (first-year cornerback out of Rutgers). On the drive Brunell hooked up several times with RB Pierre Thomas for impressive gains, including a gorgeous pass on a third down that the two connected on despite tight coverage by Texans LB Kevin Bentley.
Following some special teams work that focused on field goals and kickoffs that both teams practiced against themselves on the squads reconvened for a final team session that saw the Saints march down the field behind Drew Brees, with a nice completion to RB Reggie Bush that picked up eight yards, a completion to Miller for seven yards, a diving 12-yard completion to WR Devery Henderson and an 18-yard completion to Bush. However on an ensuing down DE Mario Williams and DT Amobi Okoye pressured Brees in the pocket and the Saints' scoring drive was thwarted when Brees was intercepted in the end zone by SS Glenn Earl.
The Saints' final drive of the afternoon practice ended with two impressive offensive plays, the first a long pass from Brees to WR David Patten that covered over 40 yards, and a QB Tyler Palko touchdown pass to TE Billy Miller.
The Saints and Texans will once again work against each other tomorrow morning at the Saints' facility. In the afternoon the Saints will hold a practice against themselves, while the Texans will head to the Superdome for their own workout. The next time the two teams face each other will be on Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. (FOX 8, Cox Sports Television and the Saints' Radio Network, Flagship Station 870 AM) in the second pre-season game of the season for each team. Both teams are 1-0, with the Saints having defeated the Arizona Cardinals last Thursday and the Texans having knocked off the Denver Broncos in Houston.