While the New Orleans Saints dropped their preseason opener 34-25 to the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, Aug. 9, there were plenty of positives from the game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:
No. 1: Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was poised and accurate starting in place of Drew Brees, connecting on 14 of 19 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. Third-string quarterback Taysom Hill looked good, especially running the ball, and also had a 33-yard touchdown pass.
No. 2: No key players suffered an injury (defensive end Cameron Jordan and left guard Andrus Peat were the other two starters held out of the game) and play-makers Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas flashed during their limited appearances.
No. 3: Return specialist Deonte Harris showed good burst on his kickoff returns and fullback Zach Line had a nice return on a short kick.
No. 4: The defense forced a Vikings fumble which was recovered by reserve linebacker Vince Biegel.
No. 5: Kicker Wil Lutz was in midseason form, connecting on all four of his field-goal attempts, including a 52-yarder. Holder Thomas Morstead made a nice grab on one high snap as well.
But like most preseason games there were plenty of items for the coaching staff to review with the players. There were a lot of penalties, the Vikings were excellent on third down and the defense gave up a few too many explosive plays (see Mike Boone's 64-yard TD run).
In coaching news, offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael called the plays and Coach Sean Payton made his first pass interference challenge with 4:36 left in the third quarter on a pass interference call against cornerback Kayvon Webster, who was covering LaQuon Treadwell. The call was upheld.
The offensive starters: Bridgewater, Terron Armstead, Nick Easton, Erik McCoy, Larry Warford and Ryan Ramczyk on the offensive line, tight end Jared Cook, receivers Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. and running backs Alvin Kamara and Line.
The defensive starters: Trey Hendrickson, Marcus Davenport, David Onyemata, Malcom Brown, linebackers Demario Davis, Alex Anzalone, A.J. Klein, defensive backs Marshon Lattimore, Eli Apple, Vonn Bell and Marcus Williams.
The Saints return to practice Saturday at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center, the first of three workouts before traveling to California for joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers. The teams will play each other Sunday, Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. The game will be nationally televised by CBS.