Monday, 06 August 2012 12:30

Game of games: Tom Brady and Patriots vs. Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints

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brees-733248The game of games; The NFL quarterback showdown.  Coming Thursday, the mighty Tom Brady and his New England Patriots versus the undefeated Drew Brees and his bounty-exhausted New Orleans Saints after their 17-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

By the way, did I tell you that it’s only an exhibition game?



Actually, the Saints will practice against the Patriots this week before facing them in the Saints' second preseason game on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (FOX 8.CST).

Observations from the Saints' 17-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday night's Hall of Fame game.

The Saints were on a mission;  Let's play football and get the offseason mess behind us, The Cardinals played like this was a first preseason game.

Quarterback Drew Brees took the Saints 77 yards on 10 plays for a touchdown on the opening drive. That's the Saints' goal: score on their opening drive. "We wanted to show the new guys what we do with opening drives," said Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who has become a spokesman for the defense as well as a team leader. Jenkins had an interception, playing like a true center-fielder. Neither Saints safeties got an inceptions last season. They'll get a few this season in new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defense.

The Saints defense collected two interceptions and three sacks under Spags.

Mark Ingram scored the opening touchdown on a one-yard run, and he had a good cutback run before that. He played like he's completely healthy and that means the Saints have four NFL running backs. One may have to be traded.

New middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, Jon Vilma's replacement, had a tackle for a two-yard loss and is better than any linebacker the Saints had in a couple of years, especially against the running game.

Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who had a below par 2011 season, and will have to sign a new deal this season, put pressure of Cardinals starting quarterback, put pressure on Kolb and smacked him to the ground, causing the quarterback to leave the game with a bruised chest. Kolb didn't return.

Over-all, the Saints defense didn't look very sharp and its tackling is still lacking. But Martez Wilson, who. has moved from linebacker to defensive end, impressed putting pressure on the quarterbacks and will be a bonus to the pass rush.

Joe Morgan, playing in his hometown, and Laron Scott each misjudged a punt. Scott redeemed himself with a good kickoff return in the second half.

Undrafted running back Travaris Cadet, out of Appalachian State and Pearl River Community College, looked great catching the ball and in the return game. He led the team in receptions with eight for 80  yards and a touchdown. Defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker, another undrafted free agent out of Tulsa and Jones County Junior College  led the defense with five solo tackles and a sack for an eight-yard loss. Cadet faces an uphill battle to win a roster spot with all the running backs the Saints have.  So his best hope might be to catch on with another team or to end up on the Saints' practice squad.

Chase Daniel played well and led the Saints in passing, hitting 15-of-20 for 203 yards with a touchdown while rushing for 17 yards. Brees completed 4-of-5 for 41 yards in the opening series.

How they saw the game:

Saints coach Joe Vitt: "I thought our first unit performed pretty well. We have some younger guys that have to grown in our scheme, technically and physically. We have a big week ahead of us against a  good football team in the Patriots."

Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins: "It was a good start to the season for the defense, but we still have a lot to work on. Tonight was a good foundation for us."

The NFL has not made a settlement offer to Saints linebacker Jon Vilma regarding his season-long suspension, a source close to the situation told's Steve Wyche.

ESPN reported the NFL would reduce Vilma's suspension if he dropped his defamation suit against NFL commish Roger Goodell. The source told Wyche that the lack of an offer does not mean a proposal might not be made in the future.

Insiders believe the suspensions given Vilma and the other suspended players would have been lighter had they cooperated with the league in the bounty gate investigation.

SAINTS NOTEBOOK: Saints WR Adrian Arrington will see Dr. James Andrews soon for an evaluation of his knee injury. It's reported to be a meniscus injury, and coach Joe Vitt said the Saints are trying to determine whether Arrington needs surgery. Surgery would likely cost Arrington the early part of the season, assuming it's a scope, and his whole season in the worst-case senario...

The lone blemish against Chase Daniel's performance against the Cardinals was an end zone interception on a leaping grab by a Cardinals safety. Daniel telegraphed the throw...Courtney Roby enjoyed an impressive performance with four receptions for 54 yards. Andy Tanner also had four catches for 75 yards.





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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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