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Saturday, August 20, 2011
Three things: Saints-Texans

By Pat Yasinskas

Three things to watch for in New Orleans’ preseason game against the Houston Texans on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET:

1. Drew Brees and the first-team offense. Brees attempted only four passes in the preseason opener and the first-team offense only made a cameo appearance. But things are going to be different this week. Coach Sean Payton said he hopes to play the starters for most, or all, of the first half. That should be enough to let Brees show if he’s sharp, after completing just one pass last week. Brees doesn’t need to do anything spectacular in a preseason game, but he’s coming off a season in which he threw a career-high 22 interceptions. A crisp outing by Brees would rest the worries of a lot of New Orleans fans.

2. Gregg Williams and the blitz calls. Williams went all out in last week’s opener against San Francisco. He blitzed starting quarterback Alex Smith often in the early stages of the game and kept it going later on. That’s unconventional for the preseason. But Williams might be trying to get his defense back to 2009 form when then Saints were causing all sorts of turnovers.

3. Mark Ingram. The rookie running back had a beautiful touchdown run last week. But that came after the starters were out of the game. We might get a chance to see Ingram get a little bit of work with the first-team offense this time around. It only makes sense because I think we’re going to see a fair amount of Ingram with the first team once the regular season rolls around.