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tiggerpolice 08-08-2005 08:04 AM

Saints rest after Mississippi scrimmage
Saints rest after Mississippi scrimmage
8/7/2005, 5:07 p.m. CT
The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Then annual Black and Gold Scrimmage and the first road trip of the season behind them, the New Orleans Saints took Sunday off. It gave them a chance to rest up after a little over a week or practice at training camp.

The scrimmage gave Mississippi fans a chance to see the team. The Saints hope it will also help them drum up some business from the state. Season ticket sales have slumped this year.

It also gave the coaches some film to watch with the players in a little different situation from the regular practices.

Quarterbacks Aaron Brooks and Todd Bouman completed all eight of their passes while leading the offense on a touchdown drive to begin the scrimmage, which lasted just less than an hour.

Coach Jim Haslett and linebacker Courtney Watson said it was a crisp performance by the defense as well.

"A lot of the passes were timing patterns. I think we did a good job of flocking to the ball and wrapping up," said Watson, who returned to the field after missing two days with a strained left quadriceps. "Even though it might not have looked as good statistically, I think we did a good job out there."

Brooks, who made three completions and called it quits, also ran for a first down on the drive.

Bouman hit Devery Henderson inside the five-yard line to set up a short touchdown pass to Talman Gardner.

"We went out and did what was supposed to be done," Brooks said. "We just wanted to sharpen up some of our fundamentals, and we wanted everybody doing the right things. I think everybody came out with the right frame of mind and wanted to get something accomplished, and we were able to do that."

The scrimmage followed nearly an hour of stretching and routine practice drills in front of a paid crowd of 10,282 fans.


QB BREAKTHROUGH: Haslett said the quarterback performance dropped off some when the third string took the field. But he was surprised by the impressive play of third- and fourth-string quarterbacks Kliff Kingsbury and Adrian McPherson.

"They haven't practiced as well as they played today," Haslett said. "I'd like to see them continue that in the (preseason) games."

McPherson's first pass was an 11-yard strike, caught by rookie receiver Keron Henry. McPherson later scrambled for a first down on a third-and-five play.

"I just wanted to go out and show the coaches that I've been working hard and trying to progress," said the fifth-round draft pick, who has struggled early in training camp. "I just wanted to let the game come to me. I just took what the defense gave me and tried to get the ball in the playmakers' hands."


WORTH THE DRIVE: The two-and-a-half hour bus ride to Jackson, Miss., for the scrimmage was a lengthy trek, especially for some of the veterans. But Haslett said the team enjoyed the chance to perform in front of a crowd. The Saints will hold night practices Monday in the Superdome and Wednesday in Hahnville before the preseason opener at home against Seattle on Friday.


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