There were individual drills and full-team drills when the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots gathered Wednesday at the Saints’ training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to begin a set of joint practices.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady played against the Packers despite his off-field legal battles regarding the Deflategate scandal, although he did not put on a great performance. And New Orleans could not finish the Pats off, losing 30-27 on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to rookie free agent wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. New Orleans had 16 last week against the Ravens. “He was good”, said Payton about Brees.
And even thought the Patriots held must of their normal starting line-up on the bench, the Saints defense seemed to play with much more urgency and passionate aggression, than their lackluster effort against Baltimore.
The Saints offense had 428 total yards. If the Saints can build off their effort against the Patriots and find a pass rush in the process then Saints fans would have to be pleased with what they have seen during the pre-season. And it sounded like Brees wanted to throw at Butler, if only to give his receivers a chance to see what they could do against him.
His first preseason game action against Green Bay was hardly awe-inspiring either and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has taken the tough love approach, often chastising the promising youngster.
Saints kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 55-yard field goal at the beginning of the third quarter. Garoppolo was not overly impressive in the team’s first scrimmage often going for the long ball and taking too long to make throw, but he is who they have to go with if Brady is unavailable, as The Boston Globe recently pointed out.
The play resulted in a pass-interference penalty and moved the Saints inside the red zone.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered high praise after the speedy wideout burned his defense for big plays of 45 and 36 yards in addition to a pair of 18-yard receptions on Saturday.
“It wasn’t 124 heat index like it was in Metairie, [La.]”, he said, speaking of the city where the Saints train. When two teams have been practicing for a while against each other, tempers (flare) the last day. First practice will be Sunday at 4:30 p.m. and if weather permits, it will be open to the public. Brees has plenty of weapons behind him with Marquis Colston and Brandin Cooks on either side.
“Everybody knows Brady’s a Hall-of-Fame guy”, said Saints Defensive Lineman Kevin Williams. The Patriots running back roulette will contain LeGarrrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Travaris Cadet and James Devein.