Tuesday, 10 August 2010 15:28

New Orleans Saints Prepare For New England Patriots With Brees, Tom Brady Match

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staton1The Saints and the Patriots met on the practice field on Tuesday morning behind Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

They will have two sessions on Tuesday and one on Wednesday before their meet in their preseason opener on Thursday night.  The teams will begin separately, going through warmups and individual drills. About a third of the way through the practice, the teams will come together to finish the rest of their work, which is expected to include a combination of group and team drills.

Patriots defensive lineman Gerald Warren has participated in combined practices with other teams and said the setup can be a welcome change of pace.

"It's just an opportunity to kind of cut loose in practice," said Warren. "You don't want to take it to the fill extent when you practice against your teammates, but you get fresh meat in, it's time to go to work."

The Patriots have unpleasant memories about the Saints when you mention last season. The November meeting in the Superdome between the Saints and the Patriots was supposed to be a measuring stick for the Saints who were fighting to stretch their perfect season to 11 games. The Saints won 38-17.  Patriots players have watched film of the game to see what went wrong.

"They were the best team in the NFL last year, so we can throw accolades at them," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "They're good players, they're well coached. They certainly handled us down there in every phrase of the game.

"It's a new year, but know that they're a great football team and it will be a good opportunity for us to compete against somebody that we know has a high quality of performance, coming off a great year.."
From New Orleans Saints.com:

Following two weeks of practices, meetings, and weight room workouts, the New Orleans Saints will finally face another opponent for the first time since leaving the field as Super Bowl XLIV champions when they open their 2010 preseason at the New England Patriots on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m.

This will be the first time since 2005 and the ninth time overall that the Saints will face the Patriots in the preseason with the series tied 4-4. In their last regular season meeting, New Orleans defeated New England 38-17 on November 30, 2009 to improve to 11-0.

Thursday’s matchup will take place following two days of joint practices at Gillette Stadium with the Saints and the Patriots. Under Head Coach Sean Payton, the Saints have posted a 9-8 mark in the preseason.

Their 3-1 mark in 2009 was seen as a springboard towards the most successful season in franchise history.
Both New Orleans and New?England enter the start of the 2010 campaign with high expectations. The league’s top-ranked offense in both scoring and yardage for the second consecutive season, the Saints shattered  franchise-records by scoring 510 points, the ninth-highest regular season total in NFL?history and putting up 6,461 total net yards on the ground and through the air. Opportunistic defensive and special teams units accounted for 39 takeaways, the second-highest total in the NFL. A franchise-record seven players were named to the Pro Bowl.

QB Drew Brees  enjoyed one of the most prolific seasons ever by a signal-caller and his finest season as a professional. He set an NFL?single-season record by completing 70.6 % of his passes, completing 363 of 514 throws for 4,388 yards with 34 touchdowns passes.

Brees, named the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player for his flawless performance in the NFL’s title game is aided by an offensive line that has surrendered only 72 sacks since 2006, the second-lowest total in the league. Supported by a talented group of position players,  including RB?Reggie Bush , WR Marques Colston  and TE?Jeremy Shockey , the offense returns all 11 starters and most major contributors in 2010.

New Orleans’ opportunistic defense, which adopted a ball-hawking personality under coordinator Gregg Williams, finishing second in the NFL with 26 interceptions returns nine-of-11 starters. The unit scored eight touchdowns off of turnovers in the regular season and one more in Super Bowl XLIV. The defense is led in the middle by the unit’s captain MLB?Jonathan Vilma , who has led the club in tackles for two straight seasons. Up front, DE Will Smith  has provided the heat with 49.5 sacks since 2004, the seventh-highest total in franchise history. The Saints special teams units return a specialist group that excelled in 2009 and have used training camp practices and competition to improve their coverage units.

New? England, the last club to win two consecutive Super Bowls is coming off a season where they finished 10-6 and captured the AFC?East title for the seventh time in nine seasons. They feature one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the NFL led by QB?Tom Brady and wideouts Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Defensively, they finished fifth in the league in scoring defense, surrendering only 285 points.

by Ed Staton

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