The Texans' joint practices against the Saints today provided an opportunity for Houston to get a look at someone other than itself, eliminating the predictability of the offense and defense knowing the opposing side's tendencies and plays during practice.
The second-team offense struggled in the red zone with two turnovers, but the first-team scored a touchdown on a nice throw from quarterback Matt Schaub.
The defense, however, fared well, even against one of the league's most explosive offenses in New Orleans.
During the final 11-on-11 period of the Texans and Saints' joint practice on Wednesday afternoon, Houston's first-team defense took four snaps against New Orleans' first-team offense.
On the first play, Texans cornerback Jacques Reeves batted down a pass from Drew Brees intended for wideout Marques Colston.
On the next play, Brees made a ton of adjustments at the line of scrimmage before the snap. Once the play finally began, Texans defensive end Mario Williams blew by his blocker and would have had an easy sack on Brees in a full-contact situation (instead, Williams stopped in his tracks from behind Brees). With linebacker Morlon Greenwood and another Texans defender applying pressure on the intended target, Brees' pass fell incomplete.
On the third play, Brees passed to running back Reggie Bush in the flat. Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans was right there to make the potential stop if contact would have permitted.
On the final play, the Saints finally turned in a positive play as Brees completed a pass to Colston for about a 15-yard gain.
But several plays later, the Texans answered back. With Saints third-string quarterback Tyler Palko running the show, rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi nearly made a brilliant interception on a long bomb toward the end zone. One play later, rookie cornerback Antwaun Molden hauled in an interception with one hand and took it back some 60 yards for a touchdown.
Other notes:Rookie running back Steve Slaton continues to look, simply put, fast. He's running downfield with confidence and is exciting to watch when he kicks it into gear (which is often)…rookie quarterback Alex Brink, expected to play for at least a quarter on Saturday against the Saints, took the third-string snaps in the morning session. Shane Boyd, who led the Texans on the game-winning drive last week but is expected not to play on Saturday, took most of the third-string reps in the afternoon save for after he threw an interception in the end zone that got the coaches to immediately replace him with Brink.