For two straight weeks, the Texans have been tested by the best.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday in West Virginia, Houston practiced against Tom Brady and the Patriots, and then played them in a preseason game on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Texans worked against Drew Brees and the Saints. A Saturday night game in the Superdome between the two squads awaits.
Going against future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks has been an excellent challenge for the defense.
"You're talking about one of the best to ever play the game and, just like Tom, they just keep getting better with age," head coach Bill O'Brien said of Brees and Brady. "I think it's a really good test for our defense to be able to go against guys like that."
For outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, seeing Brees up close in practice is an experience he and the rest of his fellow defenders relish.
"There's a reason why he's so great and he's a Super Bowl quarterback, of course," Mercilus said. "We love it, we love the competition."
Fellow pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney agreed.
"He's great, man," Clowney said of Brees. "One of the greatest quarterbacks to play this game. Just to come out here and get some work against him is great. You know we were going to get a good look so defensively, we knew if we could come out here and guard the guys he's throwing to and make him make mistakes, it would be good for our defense."
Texans quarterback Tom Savage shared his enthusiasm for seeing Brady and Brees up close over the last couple weeks.
"It's awesome," Savage said. "Obviously, two of the best quarterbacks in this league. It's good to be able to watch how he operates and how he handles the offense. It's just all good."
The Texans and Saints kick off on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. CT inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Check out some shots from the Texans-Saints joint practice in New Orleans.