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There was more hitting than when the Patriots and Saints practice among themselves.

New England cornerbacks Jonathan Wilhite and Kyle Arrington knocked Marques Colston to the ground as backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey’s pass sailed over the receiver’s head.

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, in the midst of a solid recovery from knee surgery, participated in 11-on-11 drills without fear of being hurt.

“We’re all pros out here and we know this is practice and we’re going to take care of each other,” he said. “But, at the same time, you don’t know these guys so you don’t know if they’re going to try and thud you or if they’re clumsy or what’s going to happen. But, for the most part, I wasn’t too worried about it.”

On the final day of two-day joint practices between New Orleans and Houston last August four fights erupted.

“I think Bill and Sean got together and said, ‘Hey, guys, if there’s fighting, we’re going to toss you,’ ” Evans said. “There’s no room for lack of self-control in this game and last year in Houston was a bit out of order.”

The most challenging part of Tuesday’s two practices was “figuring out the right tempo,” Patriots running back Kevin Faulk said. “It’s neat scrimmaging against them just because of what they accomplished last year.”

Both first-string quarterbacks were on target for much of the two sessions.

Tom Brady lofted a pass over safety Roman Harper into the hands of rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez for a touchdown.

A few minutes earlier, Drew Brees called an audible, and Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo shouted to his defense to adjust, but Jeremy Shockey caught the pass on the right side of the end zone.

Last season, Brees threw five touchdown passes in the rout of the Patriots.

“That was a big night for all of us because we knew the gravity of that game, playing against a team like the Patriots on Monday Night Football and wanting to keep the undefeated streak alive,” he said. “It just felt like the next step in proving that we were championship worthy.”

The victory capped a week of preparation that’s still remembered for Payton’s impression of Belichick.

Sean has a great way of motivating the guys during the week in a fun way,” Brees said, “in a way that catches your attention, but also lets you know the importance of certain things.”

Payton said he didn’t ask Belichick about the book. But the Saints will be in town through Thursday night.

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