The Saints are preparing to face a tough, physical Houston Texans team this Sunday – in what will be the best pre-season litmus test of where the Black and Gold truly stands.
The Texans have sat atop the AFC South for the past two years, boasting a powerful presence on both sides of the ball that propelled them into the playoffs.
Tuesday, veteran wide receiver Marques Colston hit the practice field for the second consecutive day, but he’s not sure whether his lingering foot injury will allow him to play Sunday in Houston.
“I’m just trying to be cautious and take my time, knowing that we have a long season to play,” Colston said, admitting he’s still not 100% healthy. “Probably not at this point. But that’s okay, I’m working towards it. I still have a couple of weeks yet so, again, I am taking my time with it.”
The Hofstra product sports a quiet demeanor and is known for allowing his play to speak for him. That it has. The 7th round draft pick has now amassed six 1,000-yard seasons and, if healthy, could easily add a seventh this year while working with Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
“To be honest, that’s never really been a goal,” Colston said. “That has just been a byproduct of being a part of a great offense. More important to us is really getting back on track in the wins and losses columns.”
Colston says he’s not feeling any pressure to rush his recovery, due in large part to the talented pool of wide receiver hopefuls the Saints coaching staff is furiously trying to evaluate.
“They show up. They have been making a ton of plays. You see it on the practice field day-in and day-out, but once it translates over to a game, that’s big-time. We are definitely looking forward to seeing what those guys can bring to the offense,” Colston said of hopefuls Andy Tanner, Nick Toon, Kenny Stills and Preston Parker.
Brees certainly isn’t rushing Colston back. Instead, the face of the franchise is giving Colston major props, saying the big receiver will make an impact whenever he returns to game action.
“I want him to be healthy and pain free. He’s a tough guy. He’s battled a lot through his career. Some guys would shut it down. He hasn’t done that,” Brees said. “He is always showing up to practice, showing up in the game. I am confident in his ability to come back and his ability to be there for us in the season and do everything he has done in the past.”
Brees says there are numerous occassions where Colston kept persevering when many thought he needed to stop and rest.
“Oh there have been a lot of those instances, but I think that is what sets him apart from most elite receivers,” Brees said. “Number one, he doesn’t need to let you know he is good. He keeps his mouth shut for the most part and just plays. He does his talking with his play. He is a fiery competitor and he is willing to sacrifice for everyone and battle through whatever he needs to battle through in order to be out there for the guys and help them win.”
Colston may not show up much on late-night sports show highlight reels or in the national conversation, but Brees isn’t the only Saint singing his praises. Fellow veteran receiver Lance Moore laments the fact Colston has never been honored with a Pro Bowl appearance.
”It’s unfortunate. He’s a guy that has had so much success and has ridden under the radar. That is no fault of his own. He is just not one of the more flamboyant guys,” Moore said. “If you compare his stats to any of the other guys around the league over the last seven years, he’s right there in the top. It’s unfortunate and hopefully we can get this guy to Hawaii.”
True to form, there’s another goal Colston says he would much rather achieve this season: to walk away from February’s final game in MetLife Stadium victoriously.
“I need another Super Bowl ring,” Colston simply stated.