Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
METAIRIE, La. ― The Saints defense seemingly earned much respect in the preseason opener against San Francisco, sacking 49ers quarterbacks six times while allowing less than 250 total yards.
In fact, the 49ers never got into the red zone and their best scoring chance was a 59-yard field goal.
And defensive coordinator Gregg Williams? He Does. Not. Care.
During Monday’s practice, a full-padded, physical session, Williams was constantly on the defense, yelling at them from the get-go.
It must have worked. Tuesday was the defense’s day, save for a few plays.
They won 8 of 9 plays in goal line drills, intercepted quarterback Drew Brees once in team period, would have sacked him several other times and were just much more active than they were a day earlier.
The only player who didn’t advance past Monday’s lowlights was rookie Martez Wilson.
First, he was pulled out of goal line drills by linebacker coach Joe Vitt, who yanked the rookie after one play with the second team because he didn’t know his assignments.
Later in practice, Williams shouted at Wilson, “Do we have a chance to see you do anything today? Anything?”
This could be Williams treating Wilson like Patrick Robinson and Junior Galette a season ago or it could show bigger problems.
We’ll have to wait and see about that but it’s not a good start.
The Saints are taking full advantage of the 90-player roster the NFL is allowing in preseason; they’re once again at the roster ceiling after signing running back Patrick Cobbs. It’s most likely a special teams grab, but could also be a hedge bet with Chris Ivory and Joique Bell both being injured.
Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins sat out Tuesday’s session with a right knee injury. Coach Sean Payton, however, wasn’t concerned by it and said Jenkins would be back practicing Thursday and likely playing Saturday against Houston.
For a complete report, check out the story at WWLTV.com.
This and that
*Reason 376 you know your defense is in good hands: The defensive backs were working on a drill where a player batted a ball back to another defender as the first one ran out of bounds, the idea being to keep it in play and give the defense a chance to advance a loose ball. I certainly never would have thought of the drill
*Safety Chris Reis was playing with the first-team defense at free safety in place of Jenkins. Receiver Lance Moore exposed Reis, however, during one team play using a double move. Reis bit on the first move and pump fake by quarterback Drew Brees. Moore was wide open.
*Here’s why there’s so much upside with linebacker Jonathan Casillas and why folks believe he’s one of the answers at linebacker. After tight end Jimmy Graham caught a pass and turned upfield, it would have been easy to let him go and jog into the end zone. Casillas chased him down and punched the ball loose, sending it into the end zone where a fellow defender picked it up. Heady play.
*Brees threw yet another interception to a defender, this time cornerback Patrick Robinson, who only had to move a few steps to his right. And by that, I mean it wasn’t an exceptional read by the defender, it was a poor throw. Yes, this is me raising my eye brow now in written form.
*Kicker Garrett Hartley went 6-for-6 on field goals, but distances were hard to see from where we were standing.
*With cornerback Leigh Torrence out with a right hip injury and Patrick Robinson playing with the first-team defense at right cornerback, Trumaine McBride was working as the nickel back. It’s an interesting move considering that Pierson Prioleau in the past has played in nickel and dime situations.
1st and goal @ 3: QB Drew Brees to TE David Thomas at back of end zone with SS Roman Harper in coverage. Thomas bobbled the ball and likely didn’t have control of it. Harper, though, was holding Thomas.
2nd and goal @ 3: RB Mark Ingram right side for 1
3rd and goal @ 2: RB Pierre Thomas left side. LB Will Herring crushes down, nailing man at end of line, forcing Thomas inside where he was tackled
*During the third-team run, QB Sean Canfield threw a nice touchdown pass to TE Michael Higgins, the only touchdown during the period.
1st and 10 @ 40: Brees to WR Devery Henderson right for 9 yards
2nd and 10 @ 31: Thomas left side for 2 yards
1st and 10 @ 29: Brees to WR Lance Moore in back of end zone with CB Jabari Greer in coverage. TD
1st and 10 @ 19: Brees quick left to WR Marques Colston for 2 yards
3rd and 12 @ 12: Brees to RB Darren Sproles out of backfield left. Sproles sprints past LB Jonathan Vilma into end zone.
The Saints will go inside today, working from 4-6:30 p.m. It’s closed to the public.