Saints, Patriots to hold combined training camp practices

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints changed dance partners Thursday, announcing they will hold joint practices with the New England Patriots -- and not the Houston Texans, as previously confirmed by the Saints -- during training camp at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Coach Sean Payton said the Saints also considered practicing with the Texans a week later in Metairie, Louisiana, but nixed the idea. When asked whether the Texans' appearance on "Hard Knocks" was a factor, Payton acknowledged it but said it wasn't the primary reason.

"Well, we typically have gone with just one team. We discussed and talked about a second team, but really the decision was more about getting back into a schedule here," Payton said. "And then [we] certainly recognize the fact that they're gonna be featured on 'Hard Knocks.' But it was really more about our team and what's best for us."

The Saints and Patriots will practice for two or three days leading up to their preseason meeting in New Orleans on Aug. 22 -- the second preseason game for both teams. The teams also held joint practices in 2010 and 2012 at New England's practice facility.

Both teams clearly see value in the idea. The Saints have practiced multiple times against the Texans and with the Cincinnati Bengals during Payton's tenure, while the Patriots have done it with the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick loves the idea of joint practices, and Payton and Saints quarterback Drew Brees said it's a good way to break up the monotony of camp and to get different looks from the opposing offense and defense.

"I think it's been really beneficial for both sides each time we've done it," Brees said. "Hey, they're the defending world champs. They're a team that over the last, what, 14 years, have been playing at the highest level there is. So if there is a team you want to scrimmage against, compete against, learn from at the same time, it's those guys."

Texans coach Bill O'Brien also enjoys joint practices and the team-building aspects of traveling with the team to remote locations. Last season, the Texans held joint practices with both the Falcons and the Denver Broncos.

With this cancellation, the Texans do not have any joint practices scheduled this summer.

The NFL Films crew shooting "Hard Knocks" had planned to join the Texans for those practices in Louisiana but keep the focus on Houston. NFL Films supervising producer Ken Rodgers said the Saints would not have been part of the storyline. A shortened trip will still happen, despite the cancellation of the joint practices, as the teams meet in New Orleans on Aug. 30 for a preseason game.

"It's not that that team has anything to do with 'Hard Knocks,'" Rodgers said. "We'll be following the Texans as they travel, not the team on the other side of the line of scrimmage."

ESPN.com's Mike Reiss and Tania Ganguli contributed to this report.