NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints’ Preseason Week 3 In Review And What To Look For Entering Week 4

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Week 3 Preseason and What To Look For Entering Week 4

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It was a busy and important Week 3 of preseason for the New Orleans Saints. Week 3 games are usually the most 'regular-season' like before the regular season begins, as the starting players likely will not see significant minutes in the fourth week of preseason. New Orleans defeated the Houston Texans 31-23 and there was plenty to take away from the game itself. There were also important moves in the week leading up to the game that were significant and positional battles continued to be played out in practice.

Even before the game began Sunday afternoon, the Saints made some notable roster decisions early in the week. Some veterans who were looking to secure a spot were released.

Looking ahead, however, there was plenty to take away from the Saints' victory over the Texans. Wide receivers continue to battle for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, the defense gave us some early cause for concern and the rest of the offense continued to improve. A former Heisman Trophy winning running back also showed what he could bring to the passing game and how he could be an important cog in the offensive machine.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan also got the opportunity to see how his newly installed 3-4 defensive scheme, with the available personnel, could match up against a team with talent and ability on the offensive side of the ball. There were some early causes for concern, but ultimately Ryan should be able to come away from the victory over Houston with plenty of positives.

Here now is a look back at the Saints' moves in Week 3 of preseason and what to look for going into Week 4 and the beginning of the regular season.

Jack Cavanaugh is a New Orleans Saints contributing writer for Follow him on Twitter @cav_jack, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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Quarterback Seneca Wallace and Left Tackle Jason Smith Released

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans released veteran quarterback Seneca Wallace and former left tackle Jason Smith, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Wallace was suffering from a groin injury throughout training camp and never had a good showing in his preseason games. Smith was beat out in training camp by Charles Brown.

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Veteran Wide Receivers Released

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints also released veteran wide receivers Steve Breaston and Patrick Crayton. Breaston and Crayton were likely brought in to challenge younger players like Nick Toon and rookie Kenny Stills to step up their game and produce.

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Mark Ingram Shows What He's Capable of Doing

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Ingram showed us why New Orleans spent a first round draft pick on him in the 2011 draft. Although he didn't reach the end zone, Ingram rushed for 24 yards on just four carries and turned a second quarter pass from Drew Brees into a nice 29 yard gain. Look for Sean Payton to utilize him in the passing game more this season.

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Veteran Cuts Leave No. 3 Wide Receiver Battle Open To Two

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

With two veteran receivers having been cut earlier this week, the Saints' No. 3 wide receiver spot appears to be down to just two—Nick Toon and Kenny Stills. Toon had one reception for 11 yards against the Texans and Stills had two receptions for 54 yards and a touchdown. For the time being, Stills might have pulled ahead of Toon, but only for the time being.

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Rob Ryan's Defense Still Working Things Out

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Rob Ryan and his new 3-4 defense bended, but did not break a 31-23 victory over the Houston Texans. The defense gave up 496 yards, but also had a goal line stand and and forced the Texans to settle for several field goals instead of touchdowns. Linebacker Will Smith left the game with an undisclosed injury, but was able to walk off under his own power. Clearly, Ryan and his defensive unit still have some kinks to work out.