Saints-Texans as close to a real game as we'll see in preseason
Don Ames Reporting
The Saints will have a walk-through Saturday, and then its off to Houston, where they'll play the Texans Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Coach Sean Payton is looking forward to his team's biggest challenge of the preseason so far.
The starters are expected to play the first half of Sunday's game. That includes running back Pierre Thomas, who has yet to play in a preseason game this year.
Backup cornerback Patrick Robinson is also expected to play after missing the first two exhibition games.
Saints' sideline reporter Kristian Garic says the team is relatively healthy, and it's been good to see Marques Colston back at 4 out of the 5 last practices. OL Jahri Evans was also back at practice Thursday. It's not known how full their participation was, because, unlike training camp, the media is not allowed to watch the entirety of the practices, whether indoors or out.
NFL rules don't require coaches to list a participation report during the preseason. But, Kristian says it's a good sign that the team is getting healthier.
Payton says the starters will all play at least a full half on Sunday. And, it's likely that one group from the offense or defense will play a little into the second half, depending upon who gets how many snaps in the first half.
Garic says this will be the closest in the preseason you'll get to a real game, and while the score doesn't count...you really want to see the Saints be competitive in the first half.
Houston is a quality opponent, and Reliant is a really loud stadium, though not as loud as the Superdome.
Sunday also gives the contest more of a real-game-feel.