Black and Gold Scrimmage

Rain forced the Black and Gold Scrimmage indoors on Saturday and in all it was a solid performance. The defense once again performed well picking up four sacks and forcing four turnovers.


Quarterback Drew Brees did not play. Brees left town late Friday due to a familiar matter and may or may not be back by Monday when the team returns to the practice fields.




The defense as a whole had a solid day with four sacks. DE Charles Grant, S Chris Reis, DE Anthony Hargrove, and S Roman Harper got to the quarterback.


There also were four turnovers. LB Mark Simoneau picks up a fumble by RB Mike Bell in the scrimmage’s first opening drive. S Roman Harper picked off a deep pass from QB Joey Harrington, and CB Jason David made a nice diving interception for another pick. DE Jeff Charleston recovered a high snap.


“I’m anxious to look a the tape. It’s a two fold deal when you ask the head coach. When you put it on the ground your disappointed offensively, you took it away defensively it’s a positive,” Payton said of the turnovers. “The fumble by Mike Bell was discouraging because it looked like he didn’t have it put away cleanly, but I did think we made some plays on the ball defensively which is encouraging.”




Receiver Marques Colston played like it was a regular season game. Steady and every bit as a go-to receiver as he provides when the games count. Colston had six catches in the first two drives.


“We’ve been busting our butts since training camp opened and we’re starting to get into that groove and into that rhythm,” Colston said of the way the first unit played. The fourth year receiver played in just 11 games last season due to injuries but this camp has shown he could be on par for a 2007 season where he played in 16 games, snagged 11 touchdowns and had 1,202 yards receiving.


Colston also caught a 1-yard touchdown during the 2nd drive of the scrimmage. Practice game or not, it’s always nice to get a score, “You just want to make as many big plays as you can. That’s what the receiving group is out here to do,” says Colston.




QB Mark Brunell was very efficient when running the starting unit in place of Drew Brees. “I think for the most part the coaches will be pleased. We made some mistakes but we did some good things, we got the ball down the field,” Brunell said of the overall performance of the offense. “I thought we ran the ball real well. We’ll look at the film, make corrections and build on what we did today, but I thought it was a pretty good scrimmage.”


Brunell was four of four on the opening drive, prior to a Mike Bell fumble, hitting Colston twice. On the second drive, Brunell went four of five, finding Colston on all of his completions including the last one, a 1-yard TD toss.


“I’m smart. Throw to the big guy that can catch,” said a laughing Brunell of why Colston was getting all the passes. “It was in the progressions he was the guy we needed to go to based on the coverages that we saw. I just think it happened to work out that way.”




Head coach Sean Payton held out the following players as either a precaution of due to injuries being nursed.


RB Reggie Bush, WR Lance Moore, CB Randall Gay, S Darren Sharper, WR Adrian Arrington, TE Dan Campbell, S Chip Vaughn.


Vaughn of the list has would could be the more serious of the injuries. “He’s got a little meniscus tear. It’s not real big and yet it’s caused some swelling and knee pain and we’ll have to examine it further,” said Payton after practice of Vaughn’s left knee.





The scrimmage caused a few players to get nicked up, the most serious happening to LB Mark Simoneau. Simoneau suffered a right elbow injury and after getting it looked at by trainers, had his elbow wrapped heavily with ice.


CB Jason David received a pop to his right should while making a tackle, forcing him to the sideline for a few plays. David later returned to the field, later making an interception.


A diving S Roman Harper ran into CB Jabari Greer on his pick, and looked to have hit Greer’s wrist area with his helmet on the play. Greer did not miss action


CB Tracy Porter injured his right hamstring and was seen with bag of ice taped to the back part of his right leg after practice.




Left tackle Carl Nicks took some snaps at left tackle towards the end of practice. “When you go to the game and you’re dressing seven or eight offensive lineman you got to have a couple of guys that can swing,” Payton said of his second year tackle who became the starter midseason a year ago. “He’s played left tackle in college so we took probably about five snaps worth, maybe a little bit more, so we’ll see how did on film.”




The Saints will have only meetings Sunday and return to practice on Monday with a pair of scheduled workouts. Friday night the team opens up their preseason schedule as they host Cincinnati in the Superdome.

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