The NFL preseason opened with the Hall of Fame Game between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals. The Saints defeated the Cardinals with a final score of 17-10. Drew Brees and the Saints took the field at Fawcett Stadium and silenced many critics with a victory. I know this was just a preseason game but the Saints were looking pretty good despite only having about a week and a half of training camp.
Brees only played one drive before handing the offense over to Chase Daniel. During Brees’s opening and only drive he went four for five with 41 yards. Furthermore, Brees’s drive led to a Mark Ingram touchdown and the Saints took the lead and never let it go. Daniel played the rest of the game and commanded the offense despite throwing an interception.
Daniel played a great game as he went 15 for 20 with 203 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. As expected, the Saints’ passing game was on point, but the bigger stories might have been the Saints’ running game and their new look defense.
The Saints did not dominate the game by any means but their running game was solid and featured a backfield with the likes of Ingram, Pierre Thomas, and Chris Ivory, to name a few. The Saints’ rushing attack combined for 82 yards and a touchdown. While they did not get too much production from their ground game they still played solid.
The Saints’ running game had a balanced attack as they used six different running backs in the game. It was especially encouraging to see Ingram get the opening touchdown as he looks about 100 percent in his preseason debut. Ingram will be expected to carry some of the offensive load this season and he looks up to the task. The Saints are still a pass-heavy team but any production they can get from their ground game will be a huge plus. Again, the Saints’ rushing attack did not put up too many yards but they looked very solid and maintained a balanced attack within the Saints’ dynamic offense.
Another big highlight for the Saints was the debut of their new look defense under new defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo. The Saints’ new look defense looked pretty well together in their debut. The Saints’ defense had 58 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, and seven quarterback hits. The defense pressured the quarterback all night and they played great in the first game of the post-Gregg Williams era. Linebacker Lawrence Wilson and safety Malcolm Jenkins each had an interception and the Saints’ defense took advantage of the Cardinals offense minus quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb left the game in the first half with bruised ribs and did not return. It was impressive to see the Saints’ defense play so well and it is evident that they will be much improved from last season.
The Saints had a good showing in their first preseason game and they definitely look poised to have another good year. Brees and the Saints’ offense will keep doing what they do and light up the scoreboard. With the new look defense the Saints could be more of a complete team and really set themselves up for a great run this season. It is clear that the Saints have put the bounty gate scandal behind them and they are back to business, doing their job, just like Sean Payton would want them to.
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