New Orleans defense adds to sack total

Saints push preseason total to 13; linebacker Smith leaves with injury

Associated Press photo by Eric GayNew Orleans Saints linebacker Will Smith (91) is helped off the field during the first half of Sunday's preseason game in Houston.
Associated Press photo by Eric GayNew Orleans Saints linebacker Will Smith (91) is helped off the field during the first half of Sunday's preseason game in Houston.

HOUSTON — The New Orleans Saints’ new 3-4 defense continued to pile up sacks in its third exhibition game Sunday against the Houston Texans in Reliant Stadium.

Defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Glenn Foster each got to Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the first half, pushing the Saints’ total to 13 sacks in their first 21/2 games.

The sack by Foster, an undrafted free agent, was his fourth of the preseason, while Jordan overpowered right tackle Derek Newton to collect his second.

The Saints recorded just 30 sacks in 16 regular-season games last season when they gave up an NFL single-season record 7,042 total yards.

Smith leaves game

Saints outside linebacker Will Smith left the game in the second quarter when he was injured on the play on which Jordan dropped Schaub.

Smith appeared to get tangled up with a couple of other players and was twisted to the ground. He was examined on the sideline and was taken to the locker room before halftime.

Saints coach Sean Payton had no update on the severity of the injury after the game.

Sitting it out

Not dressing for the Saints were LB Jonathan Vilma (knee), LB Junior Galette (knee), LB Martez Wilson (elbow), FB Jed Collins (undisclosed), LB Chris Chamberlain (excused) and WR Joe Morgan (knee).

Among those not playing for the Texans were RB Arian Foster (back/calf) and DE Antonio Smith (suspended).

Other prominent Saints who didn’t play were wide receiver Marques Colston and right guard Jahri Evans. Eric Olsen replaced Evans in the starting lineup.

Playing long ball

Saints kicker Garrett Hartley and Texans kicker Randy Bullock traded long field goals in the first half with Hartley nailing a 51-yarder after Bullock crushed a 55-yard attempt.

It was the second straight week that Hartley has had a field goal of 50-plus yards after he nailed a 53-yarder last week against Oakland.

Hartley is now 6-of-6 in field goals in the preseason.

Robinson returns

Cornerback Patrick Robinson, who had his knee scoped in mid-June, played for the first time in preseason and got some snaps with the first-team defense.

Running back Pierre Thomas also saw his most action since being hurt in the first week of training camp and had 19 yards on four carries and a 51-yard touchdown catch from Luke McCown.

Nice play

Inside linebacker Curtis Lofton, who didn’t play against Oakland, returned and made a touchdown-saving play when he poked the ball away from Texans tight end Owen Daniels as Daniels was falling on his back in the end zone in the first quarter.

The Texans got the touchdown anyway on the next play on Ben Tate’s 1-yard run.

Montgomery a reserve

Former LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery has moved to outside linebacker since being drafted in the third round by the Texans but hasn’t made much of an impact.

Montgomery was listed fourth at his position on the depth chart, and got into the game as a reserve.

He has yet to record a tackle during a preseason in which he has battled injuries and concerns that he reported to camp out of shape.

Cuts coming

The Saints must make five roster moves to get down to the limit of 75 players by 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.