New Orleans Saints Play Exhibition on Sunday
It's hard to believe it's already here. That first preseason game for the New Orleans Saints is at 7 p.m. Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Canton , Ohio , for the Hall of Fame Game.
For Saints fans, it's a good chance to check out the new talent. For coaches, it must be a nightmare as it's just another opportunity for players to get injured.
Payton said Thursday in Jackson that most starters won't get more than 12 snaps during the first quarter.
It's way too early to determine how the rookies will fare this season. Draft picks like receiver Robert Meachem and running back Antonio Pittman are still soaking up the playbook.
Meachem looked very much like a rookie on Thursday, with players like receiver Marques Colston making sure that the Tennessee product lined up in the correct spot.
The Saints will be in big trouble if quarterback Drew Brees goes down at any point this season.
Rookie quarterback Tyler Palko doesn't look like he's ready to be a No. 2 signal-caller in the NFL just yet. His release looks deliberate and slow and his accuracy isn't that impressive.
Jamie Martin will more than likely stay the backup to Brees. He was effective at times when he was called upon by the St. Louis Rams.
But Martin is now 37 years old, and his arm isn't getting any stronger. He was never known for having a cannon to start with.
Jason Fife has the typical NFL stature for a quarterback and a strong arm. But he's not exactly the strongest in the mental aspect of the game.
He threw an interception during practice Wednesday and chased down and tackled the culprit out of frustration.
After the practice, Payton was asked if he appreciated his quarterback's tackling skills. Payton said, "No, and I don't like them throwing interceptions, either."
There should be some relatively big name quarterbacks being cut as teams get closer to the start of the season. Payton may grab the first big name that comes his way.
The Saints' depth at linebacker and the defensive backfield is vastly improved.
The addition of linebackers like Brian Simmons, Dhani Jones and Trev Faulk puts defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs in a good position. Scott Fujita, Scott Shanle and Mark Simoneau won't have to be on the field for 98 percent of the snaps anymore.
Cornerback Jason David and safety Kevin Kaesviharn will be the most important newcomers for the defensive backfield.
David has yet to pass Fred Thomas on the depth chart. Don't count out Thomas just yet. He can still play and contribute to the team this season. The receivers that ran free in the backfield weren't Thomas' fault every time.
The Saints' biggest concern this season may be stopping the power running game. Defensive tackle Hollis Thomas is still well overweight and fellow tackle Brian Young may not be ready at the start of the season.
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