Bradley Handwerger / Sports Writer


NEW ORLEANS Will Herring missed tackles Saturday night.

So did Paul Oliver, Jabari Greer and many other Saints defenders.

Suffice it to say, the next week at Saints camp likely won't be 'fun' for New Orleans' defensive unit.

Then again, the way the offense showed up in New Orleans' 27-14 loss to Houston, there likely won't be an ice cream party thrown in their honor, either.

Disturbing trends emerged that certainly can't be ignored.

There have been few live-tackling drills in practice and Saturday night, the Saints mostly arm-tackled their way to the loss.

The cutback runs were an issues; so were runs off tackle and off guard.

And yet, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likely won't change his philosophy, caring only to make his players to more up downs and yelling at them

He has said before that his players know how to tackle and he's confident in that.

But this time, I would be surprised if coach Sean Payton doesn't over rule his coordinator, forcing the next three to five practices to be brutal, physical sessions.

The Saints allowed 400-plus yards, including 200 on the ground and 200 through the air, to the Texans.

His offense, though, is just as much out of sorts as the defense was. The first-team started out the preseason with five consecutive non-scoring drives.

It took two fourth-down conversions to get into the end zone.

The line was a sieve into the backfield. Both quarterback Drew Brees and quarterback Chase Daniel were knocked around, both fumbling balls away to the Texans.

'They whipped us,' Payton said. 'It was pretty evident.'

He later added, 'Far too many inconsistencies for our liking. It starts with me. I thought we weren't as ready maybe as I felt we were the last week we played. I thought we were sluggish and I thought they looked sharp.'

But while the Saints' coaching staff is allowed to overreact, telling the players they're a long way from where they need to be, it's the rest of the world's job to not overreact.

You can't forget that with the starting defense in the game, we saw few blitzes. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams called a vanilla game, knowing full well that these same two teams will meet up in the regular season in Week 3.

You can't forget that the Saints, along with every other team, didn't have a true offseason and don't have two-a-days to fall back on.
You can't forget that it's only the second preseason game.

Still, you can't sugarcoat this loss.

The Saints have a lot to improve on and the next week in Oxnard, Calif., will tell us a lot about how this team recovers from embarrassment.

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