Check out the Saints in action in their season opener against the Raiders.
Offense: The easy answer would be Drew Brees, who has been so consistently fantastic in his seasons as a Saint that we take for granted days like Sunday (28 for 42 for 423 yards and four touchdowns, without an interception). Or, perhaps, receiver Willie Snead, who caught nine passes for a career-high 172 yards. Or, of course, receiver Brandin Cooks(six catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns), who hooked up with Brees on a 98-yard touchdown pass, the longest offensive score in franchise history. But let's toss this bouquet to left tackle Terron Armstead, who helped neutralize Oakland defensive end Khalil Mackwhile playing through an injury that limited his practice time and nearly prevented him from playing at all in preseason. The line had a good scheme and did a nice job overall against Oakland, but Armstead – who was concerned that being less than 100 percent would compromise his effectiveness against Mack – was a critical part of it.
Defense: Craig Robertsonwasn't looking for a bailout on his late pass interference penalty. Simply, he said, he has to be better on that kind of play and that his biggest regret was putting the team in a bad position. But he was pretty good in his starting role at "Will" linebacker on Sunday, in place of injured Dannell Ellerbe. Robertson was credited with a game-high 11 tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and a pass defensed. He might make it difficult to keep him out of the starting lineup.
Special teams: If rookie kicker Wil Lutzkicks his game-winning field goal attempt from 61 yards two or three feet more to the right, he's the guy. He made a couple of field goals, was solid on kickoffs (an added plus for the Saints, who now don't need to use punter Thomas Morsteadfor that duty) and didn't appear to be swallowed by the moment. But rookie running back Daniel Lascocontinues to prove that his professed love for special teams play wasn't just idle talk. A couple of tackles Sunday – his stop of TJ Carrie following Carrie's 10-yard punt return, a properly angled and executed, blunt-force knockdown – showed that he will continue to be an asset in the kicking game.