- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Quarterback Drew Brees and most of the first-team offense played only the first series of the game. But it was a very efficient drive. The Saints went 77 yards on 10 plays to score a touchdown. Brees didn’t do anything fancy, but completed four of five passes for 41 yards and the first offense looked as smooth as you could hope for in a preseason opener.
Second-year running back Mark Ingram scored the opening touchdown on a 1-yard run. Ingram also had a nice 10-yard cutback run before that. Ingram missed part of his rookie season with injuries and had knee and toe surgery this offseason. But he looked like he’s completely healthy and that means he likely will share time in the backfield with Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas.
Free safety Malcolm Jenkins didn’t produce a single interception last season. He got one precisely five minutes into this game, jumping a route and picking off Kevin Kolb. I expect a lot more interceptions out of Jenkins this season as he gets a chance to be a true center fielder for the first time in his career.
Curtis Lofton had a tackle for a 2-yard loss on a run by LaRod Stephens-Howling on Arizona’s second possession. Get used to that. Lofton is better than any linebacker the Saints had last season, particularly against the running game.
Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, who hasn’t been known as a pass-rusher, got nice pressure on Kolb in the Arizona end zone midway through the first quarter. Kolb barely got a pass off to avoid a safety. He also was shaken up on the play and left the game.
Overall, the Saints' first-team defense didn’t do anything that stood out either way. The unit wasn’t real sharp with its tackling against the Arizona running game.
There were some encouraging things from the Saints' second-team defense. Martez Wilson, who is making the move from linebacker to defensive end, produced a sack in the second quarter and another early in the third quarter.
Undrafted rookie running back Travaris Cadet looked great catching the ball out of the backfield and in the return game. But it’s going to be tough for Cadet to make a roster that already includes Ingram, Sproles, Thomas and Chris Ivory. Cadet’s best hope might be to catch on with another team or to end up on New Orleans’ practice squad.
Let’s run through some thoughts and observations from the New Orleans Saints’ 17-10 victory against the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday night’s Hall of Fame Game.