By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on August 7, 2014
The first week of exhibition games is officially underway. From the East Coast to the West Coast, to the Gulf South, everybody is ready for some football. The New Orleans Saints travel to St. Louis on Friday to take on the Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. The Black and Gold are loaded with talent this year, so let's take a look at five things to watch for in the Saints' NFL Preseason opener.
Keenan Lewis is locked in as the Saints' No. 1 corner, but after that, it's up for grabs. Champ Bailey is the favorite, but his health is certainly an issue and has been at training camp. Watch for guys like Corey White, Patrick Robinson and rookie Stanley Jean-Baptiste -- they all have a legitimate shot at starting this season. Even Trevin Wade and Rod Sweeting will be in the mix for an extended role. The competition is real in New Orleans.
Khiry Robinson was limited to only 54 carries in 2013 as the Saints' No. 4 RB, but he made them count. At this point, he looks like the team's most talented athlete in the backfield and now sits at No. 2 behind Mark Ingram and ahead of Pierre Thomas on the unofficial depth chart. He could be the future of this organization's ground attack, so watch to see if he lights it up. He may see a good chunk of action in St. Louis.
Cam Jordan and Akiem Hicks will likely only see a series or two tomorrow night. Brodrick Bunkley and John Jenkins are both fighting for the starting nose tackle job, but Jenkins is likely out since he's still recovering from surgery. Keep an eye on guys like Glenn Foster, Tyrunn Walker and UDFA George Uko at defensive end -- they can all ball. New Orleans has a very special defensive line that has been known to get after the QB.
Nobody knows who's going to be starting at center when the regular season kicks off -- not even the coaches. Tim Lelito and Jonathan Goodwin are both listed at No. 1 on the unofficial depth chart, so we should see plenty of both. A positional battle is brewing down in the Big Easy. May the best man that can protect Drew Brees win.
This kid looks like the real deal. Nicknamed "Lightning" by fellow teammate CB Keenan Lewis, Brandin Cooks has not only been the top rookie at training camp so far, but he's been one of the best all-around players. With his speed, hands and versatility, he can be utilized in many different ways. Watch for the Saints' first-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft to light it up in his Black and Gold debut.
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