Photos from Training Camp presented by Verizon when the New Orleans Saints have joint practice with the New England Patriots on August 9th, 2016
Foxboro, Mass. - The New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots held a joint practice Tuesday outside Gillette Stadium. It's the first of two sessions the teams will participate in before the preseason 0pener on Thursday. Here are some observations about the Saints:
- The defense continues to show improvement and going against the Patriots only seemed to back what we've been seeing at The Greenbrier. There was pressure on the quarterback, takeaways with interceptions by Da'Vonte Harris and Sheldon Rankins, and a competitive edge we did not see last year when these two teams practiced last year. Sure, they got gashed a few times. Come on, it's the Patriots.
2. There were plenty of good matchups to watch. My favorite was wide receiver Drew Brees vs Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. The two went back and forth throughout practice. Cooks may have had the better of things thanks to a touchdown reception on the right side of the end zone late in practice. That score capped an impressive two-minute drive in which Drew Brees connected with Cooks, Willie Snead, Coby Fleener and Cooks again to finish.
- Wide receiver Brandon Coleman showed well Tuesday. He may have had his best practice yet. Coleman was trustworthy with a variety of catches in different locations. As far as that position group, I see it as Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, Michael Thomas, and then Coleman with several others in a battle for the fourth and fifth spots.
- The offensive line had its hands full Tuesday with the Patriots first team defenders. Veteran right tackle Zach Strie saw a lot that he liked but also room for improvement in the run game and pass protection. He hopes his unit has a better day Tuesday. This is a group that will need some time to get things safely squared away.