New Orleans Saints Should Expect To Get a Good Test From Houston Texans

Paul Augustin, Jr.Senior Analyst IAugust 19, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 16:  Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints drops back to pass against the Houston Texans during a pre-season game at Louisiana Superdome on August 16, 2008 in New Orleans Louisiana.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

The New Orleans Saints were given the day off Tuesday in order to travel to Houston.

The Saints and the Texans are scheduled to participate in four inter-squad practices on Wednesday and Thursday as both teams prepare for Saturday's preseason game and the upcoming NFL season.

Houston's offensive talent will provide a good measuring stick for the New Orleans defense.

Led by quarterback Matt Schaub, the Texans are loaded with offensive talent.

All-pro wide receiver Andre Johnson leads a fast and physical receiving corps that had over 4,400 yards a season ago.

Kevin Walter, often over-shadowed by Johnson, caught 60 balls and eight touchdowns last season.

Tight end Owen Daniels is an emerging star in the league.

While he lags in popularity behind other AFC tight ends like Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark, Daniels' performance in 2008 earned him his first pro bowl selection.

The Saints secondary will have their hands full with this group of receivers.

If that wasn't enough to handle, second-year running back Steve Slaton returns after posting a monster rookie season.

He gained over 1,600 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns last year.

Slaton will be a good test for the Saints' diminishing collection of linebackers.

Slaton's performance against the Saints in practice may speed up any negotiations with free agent linebacker Derrick Brooks.

Houston is not as fierce defensively as they are offensively, but they are not without talent.

Defensive end Mario Williams and linebacker DeMeco Ryans are both pro-bowlers from the draft class of 2006.

Williams, who rushes from the defense's right side, will provide a tough matchup for Saints left tackle Jammal Brown.

Brown is a two-time pro-bowler but struggled to avoid holding penalties throughout 2008.

Ryans will have his sights set on Saints running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush.

I am interested in knowing how competitive and intense the practices become after two or three sessions.

The Houston heat is just as brutal as the heat in Metairie and tempers could flare quite easily.

The Texans should provide the Saints a slightly better opponent than the Bengals. The Texans are a little bit more talented on defense than the Bengals and seem to be better disciplined than the felons in Cincy.