Saints starters to see extensive action
Saints starters to see extensive action
Head coach Haslett expects them to play about three quarters
By SHELDON MICKLES
METAIRIE -- New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett said Monday his starters will see extensive playing time in Thursday night's exhibition game with the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass.
The Saints starting offense and defense played about 1ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â° quarters in a 34-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night in their preseason opener. Most coaches play their starters for about a half in the second game, but Haslett said his players will go at least three quarters against the Pats.
"We just figured as a (coaching) staff that we were going to play our guys a lot more early this year," Haslett said. "We played them a quarter and a half last week, and we are going to go three this week."
After the game with the Patriots, which will be televised nationally by Fox Sports, Haslett said the plan is to back off a little bit the starters' playing time in the final two exhibition games.
Saints players, who returned to practice Sunday afternoon following the loss to the Seahawks, believe a short week of practice for the Patriots could be the best thing for them.
The Saints turned the ball over three times in the first half, which led to three touchdowns for the Seahawks and a 24-3 halftime lead. The squad appeared to be energized for practice on Sunday and seem eager to make amends for the loss to the Seahawks.
"No one said anything to them, they just came out and practiced well," Haslett said after Sunday's workout. "They were into it, so I commend them. I hate to lose games like we did -- turning the ball over. But the guys came out and worked hard, so that says something about your team."
Haslett said his first-team defense played well, forcing the Seahawks to punt on four of the five series it worked. On the only touchdown scored on the first-team defense, the Seahawks had to go just 18 yards following a turnover.
Quarterback Adrian McPherson was red-faced after he lined up behind right guard Augie Hoffmann to take the snap from center in the two-minute drill on Friday night, but it was nothing compared to what he got when he arrived for meetings Sunday.
A photo of McPherson with his hands beneath Hoffmann's backside were plastered all around the meeting room and he got some good-natured barbs from his teammates and coaches as well as 20 cell phone messages from friends back home in Florida.
"I want to find the guy who took that picture, it was a great picture," McPherson said jokingly.
"I knew they were going to get on me a little bit, but it was all in good fun."
McPherson also earned national acclaim, sort of, as the No. 8 spot on ESPN SportsCenter's "Not Top 10" plays, but he said it could have been worse.
"I'd rather get on there by lining up under guard than throwing an interception," he said smiling. "That definitely won't happen again."
Play of the day
Wide receiver Talman Gardner, who is having an excellent camp, ran a post pattern and caught a laser throw from backup quarterback Todd Bouman as they worked against the scout squad in the morning practice.
Gardner made a nice fingertip grab against safety Josh Bullocks for what would have been a long touchdown.
Not participating in Monday's practices were LB James Allen (knee), LB Cie Grant (knee), WR Az-Zahir Hakim (hamstring) and TE Shad Meier (knee). T/G Spencer Folau (shoulder) did some individual work for the second straight day.
The Saints signed tackle Brandon Phillips on Monday.
To make room for Phillips, free agent wide receiver Tramissian Davis, who played at West Monroe and Louisiana Tech.
Today's 3 p.m. practice at the team's Metairie training facility will be the final one open to the public this summer.
The Saints will work from 3-5 p.m. today and then hold a walkthrough practice Wednesday before departing for the New England Patriots game.
RE: Saints starters to see extensive action
Brandon Phillips Grade: 2.66
Ht., Wt.: 6-7, 325
40 Time: 5.45
BIO: Three-year starter who had each of the past two seasons cut short with injury.
POSITIVES: Hard-working lineman with size and growth potential. Quick off the snap, slides laterally in pass protection and walls defenders from the action. Blocks with good lean, sets with a wide base, and helps out teammates.
NEGATIVES: Has a tall, slender build and must improve the strength of his base. Bends at the waist, lacks balance and body control.
ANALYSIS: Previously considered an offensive tackle with a good amount of upside potential, the injuries suffered the past two seasons now make Phillips a medical risk.
PROJECTION: Undrafted Free Agent
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