NEW ORLEANS – Making a mistake is a problem. Repeating the mistake can change a roster spot.
That’s the situation Saints running back Chris Ivory is trying to avoid after fumbling in the first quarter of Saturday night’s 34-27 win over the Houston Texans.
While falling forward on a bruising 11-yard run, Ivory was leveled by Texans strong safety Glover Quin with the ball popping loose for the first turnover of the night.
Ivory had trouble holding onto the ball in training camp and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. said his fumbling issues are a focus of the staff and needed to be emphasized to him every day.
Ivory, who’s been a part of the halfback rotation for the past two seasons, is being pushed by rookie Travis Cadet as the fourth contributor at the position.
Not all was negative for Ivory, who took the bulk of the carries in a drive that resulted in a 24-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley to open the second half. Ivory finished with 57 yards on eight carries.
UP AND DOWN NIGHT: Former LSU track and football standout Trindon Holliday, who had a pair of long touchdown returns on special teams in the preseason, had two bad plays and a good one in his bid to earn a roster spot with the Texans.
In the first quarter, Holliday fumbled a kickoff when hit by Saints free safety Isa Abdul-Quddus. Defensive end Junior Galette picked up the ball and raced 16 yards untouched to the end zone to tie the game at 14-14.
In the second quarter, Holliday redeemed himself by returning a kickoff 62 yards before muffing a punt that he recovered.
“Obviously, if you spot a team seven points on special teams … it’s not a good thing,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “It was disappointing. I was disappointed in another decision (the muffed punt) he made. I did not like what I saw from him tonight from that standpoint.”
LINEUP CHANGES: Because of a rash of injuries at linebacker, the Saints had two big lineup changes Saturday night.
Jonathan Casillas, a weakside linebacker, played out of position in the middle because Curtis Lofton was sidelined by an injured ankle and Will Herring got the nod on the weak side for David Hawthorne, who had his knee scoped last Monday.
Newly-acquired middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, who had just three practices with the Saints, played in the second half when the second-team defense entered the game and was credited with three tackles.
SITTING IT OUT: Other Saints not suiting up were LB Ramon Humber (hamstring), WR Adrian Arrington (knee), WR Andy Tanner (ankle), WR Nick Toon (foot), DT Tom Johnson (ankle), and CB Kamaal McIlwain (groin).
Also, running back Darren Sproles, who returned to practice this week after missing 1 1/2 weeks with a knee problem, was held out as well.
TEXANS HURTING, TOO: Houston was also missing three starters on defense as linebacker Brian Cushing (ribs), defensive end J.J. Watt (dislocated elbow) and nose tackle Shaun Cody (back) were held out of the game.
LOUISIANA CONNECTION: The Texans have three former LSU players on their roster — Holliday, middle linebacker Bradie James and punter Donnie Jones.
Jones, a former Catholic High standout, and Holliday won BCS titles in the Superdome with the Tigers in 2003 and 2007, respectively.
Wide receiver Mario Louis, a rookie from Grambling, is a New Orleans native.
WHAT’S NEXT?: By Monday, the Saints and all NFL teams must reduce their 90-man training camp rosters to 75 players. In addition, rosters have to be trimmed to the regular-season limit of 53 by Friday night.
Sheldon Mickles and Scott Kushner contributed to this report.