The Saints and Jaguars hit the field this Friday in the New Orleans pre-season home opener. It’s the first time in 2012 New Orleans Saints fans will get to see their heroes in action, live and in person. So far it’s been a pretty ho-hum season. We got a little taste of Saints football in the Hall of Fame Game where the Saints topped the Cardinals, with basically a single series where the starters were on the field. In Game 2, a loss to the New England Patriots, there was little to get excited about, unless you’re a defensive fanatic. If you are you may be encouraged by the Saints ability to keep the New England offense in check in the short time they were facing the Patriots starters.
Now though, with this Saints vs Jaguars game, we should start getting down to some real competition. If things go the way they traditionally do we’ll see Brees and the starters in a little more extensive action. Just as importantly we’ll begin to get some questions answered as to who may be a contributor in 2012 and further down the road. Two observations:
1) The addition of Curtis Lofton at linebacker was a sorely needed upgrade and should pay dividends immediately. As much as I appreciate Jonathan Vilma and his contributions to this team, and as much as I’d like to see him stick it to Goodell and the NFL hierarchy, his presence isn’t vital to the Saints success anymore.
2) The wide receivers are in an intense competition. Colston, Moore, and Henderson are probably locks to make the team but after that there’s a few open spots. Nick Toon can be penciled in as well. Courtney Roby has done well and his play on special teams is a big boost. Adrian Arrington is probably on his way out. He’s been given enough opportunity and though he’s shown flashes, hasn’t been consistently good enough.
Past that we need to remember that this is the pre-seasons and we’ll get very few answers. It is good to get on with things after the off-season we’ve had and welcoming the Saints back into the Mercedes Benz Superdome is a great way to move on.