The Saints held their third and final joint practice with the New England Patriots Wednesday morning in Foxboro, Mass. on the practice fields adjacent to Gillette Stadium. The Saints have the rest of the afternoon off and will open the preseason Thursday night against the Patriots in Gillette Stadium at 6:30 CST.
COACHES APPLAUD JOINT SESSIONS:Both Saints head coach Sean Paytonand Patriots head coach Bill Belichickexpressed Wednesday how valuable the joint practices have been for the two squads.
"I think at this time of training camp especially it certainly raises your awareness level and it's certainly a good change of scenery," said Payton. "When you get a chance to see different looks, both offensively and defensively for both teams and as well as in the kicking game, it has really worked out well. I thought we had good tempo and for us it was a little break in the weather from what we're used to. It has been good."
Belichick said the teams' practice structures emulate one another and has made the joint sessions run smoothly.
"It's been so easy to work with them - it's been so easy," said Belichick. "Do you want to do this? Yeah, we were thinking the same thing. Do you want to do that? Yeah, that's the way we do it.' Most of the conversations, that's the way they go. If he brings something up to me [I say] 'Yeah, great. That's the way we do it.'
"The individual one-on-one drills, the team drills, the down-and-distance stuff, how we call things, it's been very easy to work with them from a structural standpoint, which I expected it would be. I really did, just from our relationship and when we talked about it in the spring and then a couple times over the summer and then when we both came to training camp. It's been very easy. The degree of difficulty on this from a coaching standpoint and working together has been very low. No time and a lot of benefit, so those are the kind I like."
Injury Update: *RB *Lynell Hamiltonsuffered a knee injury towards the end of practice and Payton said that the club was awaiting further evaluation.
"We're going to get an exam right now," said Payton. "It was something that was kind of a freak deal. He planted – and it's his knee – so we're hopeful it's not serious but we'll find out after he gets examined."
WR Rod Harper sat out practice along with the three players remaining on the active Physically Unable to Perform list – LB Clint Ingram,WR Robert Meachemand DB Darren Sharper.
PAYTON IMITATES BELICHICK:In Sean Payton's book "HOME TEAM" the Saints head coach said prior to the Saints and Patriots Monday Night Football game last Nov. 30, he imitated Patriots head coach Bill Belichickin a team meeting. The Patriots head coach said Wednesday morning he was unaware of the event but joked "Well, based on the way they played, I'd say he did a pretty good job, whatever he did. He did a pretty good job of it." The Saints defeated the Patriots 38-17.
JENKINS' OPENING DANCE:During the Saints team stretch to start practice, George Clinton's song "Atomic Dog" blared over the loud speakers of the practice fields. DB Malcolm Jenkinsjumped up and started dancing to the song that he later said was his Omega Fraternity's song while he was at Ohio State.
"Whenever I hear that song I feel like I have to break out in the step routine," joked Jenkins.
BREES TO DANCING WITH THE STARS?:Patriots OL Matt Lightand Saints QB Drew Breeswere teammates at Purdue from 2005-08. Light joked that his former signal caller's performance on the football field is nothing compared to his skills on the dance floor.
"He is a really good dancer – have you seen him dance?" said Light. "You should definitely ask him to dance. He is light on his feet. He just has a plethora of moves. It is like a cornucopia of just really good moves out there on the dance floor with jazz square, three-step pony, and grapevine. He is really good – seriously. Like 'Dancing with the Stars' good."
BUSH ON SITTING OUT:RB Reggie Bushdiscussed Wednesday morning why he sat out of Tuesday afternoon's practice.
"Just a little dehydration and cramps in my legs," said Bush. "Other than that it was nothing serious. Practicing today everything was fine. It was just a little bit more precautionary than anything to make sure I was 100 percent for this preseason game tomorrow. I'll be full go tomorrow in the preseason game."