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tiggerpolice 08-08-2005 08:10 AM

Quarterbacks get passing grade
Quarterbacks get passing grade
Brooks, Bouman perfect; McPherson, Kingsbury impress
Sunday, August 07, 2005
By Mike Triplett
Staff writer
JACKSON, MISS. -- The starters didn't play for long in Saturday night's Black and Gold Scrimmage, but it was long enough for both the offense and defense to chalk it up as a success.

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.

But 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 called it a night after three completions -- following in the footsteps of tailback Deuce McAllister and receiver Joe Horn -- 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. The Saints held their scrimmage in Mississippi for the first time -- largely at the coaxing of McAllister, a native of Ludlow, Miss.

QB BREAKTHROUGH: Haslett said the performance dropped off some once the third string was on 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."

ETC.: Receiver Az-Zahir Hakim tweaked a hamstring on a long passing gain and fell to the ground untouched. The injury is assumed to be minor, and should only keep him out about two days, Haslett said.

-- The two-and-a-half hour bus ride 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.

-- NFL officials Larry Nemmers, Ron Marinucci and Carl Cheffers officiated the scrimmage. The officials met with the Saints' players and coaches Thursday night to discuss rule changes and updated points of emphasis.

-- Professional golfer Kelly Gibson served as an honorary coach of the offensive team. He bid on the role in a charity auction. When asked how much he paid, Gibson joked, "Too much."

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