NFL New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints: 5 Things to Take from Week 3

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New Orleans Saints: Week 3 In Review

Rob Foldy-USA TODAY SPorts

Week 3 for the New Orleans Saints was a good one indeed. The Saints continued to solidify their standing in both the NFL and the NFC South, following losses by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. The Carolina Panthers got their first win of the season against the New York Giants.

New Orleans' tight end Jimmy Graham continued to show why he is such a valuable asset to the organization, and quarterback Drew Brees was nearly flawless, throwing several touchdowns and running one in for a score himself as well. It appears that the offense is finally beginning to hit on most cylinders, following a so-so beginning through their first two games. I say "most" because there is still room for improvement, mostly in regards to the running game, but it is still early enough in the season not to go into full panic mode.

New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his defensive unit have made extraordinary improvements compared to last year's defensive outing, when the unit that was led by former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo gave up a record setting 7,042 yards, and all but eliminated the Saints from any kind of playoff contention in the wake of the Bounty Gate scandal.

Saints' fans should certainly be happy about the way the season has gone thus far, but must remember that there is still plenty of football to play. Here is a look at New Orleans' Week 3 and what to look for in Week 4, when the Saints will host the Miami Dolphins for Monday Night Football.

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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Saints' Defense Continues To Improve

Kim Klement

The defensive unit headed by Rob Ryan continues to improve weekly. This week New Orleans' defense sacked Carson Palmer four times, limited him to 187 passing yards, and intercepted him twice. This, on top of limiting the Cardinals to just seven points. At this point there is no reason to think that the defense can't continue to improve and help the Saints become playoff contenders again.

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Drew Brees Shakes Off Rust To Lead Team To Victory

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Saints quarterback Drew Brees shook off some of the rust from the first two games and threw for three touchdowns. Brees also ran in another touchdown off of a scramble early in the fourth quarter to put New Orleans up 24-7. Brees could easily throw for another 5,000 yards this season, which would make it the third consecutive time he has done so.

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Rookie Safety Kenny Vaccaro Reels In First Interception

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro, who had played every defensive snap through the first two games, reeled in his first NFL interception against Carson Palmer and the Cardinals. Vaccaro has also drawn comparisons to future Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu, for his energetic, versatile style of play.

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Jimmy Graham Has Another Monster Game

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Jimmy Graham had another monster game, catching nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Graham is also in the final year of his initial contract with the Saints and will likely be locked up for the long-term at the end of the season.

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Saints' Running Game Neither Improves Nor Worsens

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans' running game finally cracked the 100-yard mark for rushing, but it should be noted that 21 of those yards came from six quarterback scrambles by Drew Brees. Relatively unknown running back Khiry Robinson led the Saints with 38 rushing yards, but most of those yards came in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.