The New Orleans Saints dropped their third preseason game in losing to the Houston Texans 27-13 on Sunday. It's the first time the Saints have started the preseason 0-3 under Coach Sean Payton. The Saints have also lost their last seven appearances at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Here are some key takeaways from the game:
1. Three new players in particular continue to show consistency and solid play in their pursuit of playing time or, in one case a roster spot. Hau Kikiha, Marcus Murphy, and Willie Snead were hard to miss again. Coach Payton even went as far to say that Murphy is making his team.
2. Traditionally, the third preseason game serves as a dress rehearsal for the starters. Not the case this year. It seems two things are in play when looking at the way snaps were doled out Sunday. No. 1 is that Coach Payton seems to be very comfortable with his front line units and the time they've played together in camp and games. No. 2 is that Coach Payton and his staff have a very difficult process still working with regard to the bottom of the 53 man roster.
3. The "right 53" is still the chief concern of the Saints coaching staff and front office. That's to be expected. The other spoken concerns of the head coach, though, need clean up fast. Payton was not happy about the Saints' 11 penalties for 148 yards in the Texans game. He also has ongoing concern about his defensive front's ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks. The Saints did record their first sack of the preseason Sunday. It belonged Tyeler Davison and Tavaris Barnes.