The Saints and Houston Texans conducted their final joint practice Thursday morning. The two squads were originally scheduled to conduct another practice Thursday afternoon but Payton said the Saints would hold weight lifting sessions and team meetings instead.
PAYTON REVIEWS:After going through three joint practices with the Texans, Payton expressed the positives and negatives he saw over the past two days.
"I thought, in the morning session yesterday, there were some positives but yet there were a lot of details that need to get cleaned up," said Payton. "We watched it as a group last night, offensively with the skill guys. The P.M. practice, inside, was a little sharper. I thought this morning's practice was probably the best of the three compared to yesterday's."
HEATED PRACTICE:A few scuffles broke out during Thursday morning's practice. RB Pierre Thomassaid tempers were higher today because both teams were "giving their all."
"Today, it was a little bit more aggressive, you have seen guys out here competing and fighting for spots," said Thomas. "They probably watched film list night and said 'I am not going to take that tomorrow. This guy got me yesterday and today I am going to come out here and get after it.' You see guys competing and you like to see that. You like to see everybody competing because when it comes to game time everybody is going to go all out."
STINCHCOMB SITS:OT Jon Stinchcomb missed practiced Thursday with a shoulder injury.* *Payton said that the eighth-year lineman's injury wasn't serious and he should be fine to play against the Texans on Saturday.
TOUGH TEST:WR Devery Hendersonsaid he believes the Texans have improved each year and said they will be a "tough test" on Saturday.
"After practicing against them over the last couple of years, they are definitely a good team and on the rise," said Henderson. "There were only maybe one or two games that could have drastically changed their season last year."
CAJUN CANNON TURNS 50:Saints HOF QB Bobby Hebert, who serves as host for a sports radio show on WWL 870 and 105.3 FM, turned 50 on Thursday. The "Cajun Cannon" was out at Thursday's practice and received a number of "Happy Birthday" Cheers from the crowd.
KATRINA FIVE YEARS AFTER:The five-year anniversary of when Hurricane Katrina hit landfall in southeast Louisana is coming up at the end of August. A number of New Orleans residents moved to Houston following Katrina and Payton recognized how the displaced New Orleans residents show their support when the team travels during the regular season.
"It is always special when you see Saints fans on the road," said Payton. "The team appreciates it and it's encouraging when you see them in high spirits.
"Our staff and players always look to help in the community but especially during disasters such as Katrina and the oil spill," said Payton. "We hope to do what we can to encourage and lift their spirits during tough times."
MOORE PLEASED WITH CAMP:WR Lance Mooresaid this training camp has been "refreshing" after injuries limited him last season.
"It's been good work and we have had a lot of good battles out there," said Moore. "It's a grind but our goal is to get better each day and I think our team has been doing that." PLAY OF THE DAY: RB Reggie Bushreturned a punt for 70-plus yards during special team drills by dodging a number of Texans and receiving a key block from WR Adrian Arrington.