The New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers are turning things over to the backups as we approach the end of the third quarter of Friday night's preseason game in New Orleans. I'll keep an eye on what happens the rest of the way, but since the important part's over, I wanted to get my observations up here as quickly as possible.
For the most part, I’m not a fan of preseason football and think it’s worthless. But give Drew Brees less than two minutes and put him about 90 yards from the end zone and I’ll gladly watch that any day of the year. That shovel-pass to Reggie Bush that went to 38 yards was special. The Saints had to settle for a field goal, but Brees could have put the Saints in the end zone if Marques Colston wasn’t called for a couple of penalties on the drive.
Speaking of Brees, he appeared in a pre-recorded interview at halftime that dealt quite a bit with how the Saints have helped overcome the horror of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the region five years ago Sunday. I’d just like to say one thing about Brees. We in the media, and you as fans, have a tendency to glorify or worship guys because of what they do on the field and some guys come off looking a lot better as people than they really are. I’ve been around Brees quite a bit the past three years and can honestly say this guy is totally genuine. Everything you’ve seen and heard about him is true.
I wrote the other day that Jabari Greer is the best cornerback in the NFC South. I felt good about that decision then because it was based on what I’ve heard from numerous coaches, scouts, general managers and players. But I felt even better about that decision very early in the game when Greer almost had an interception. If you saw it, what you saw was the text book version of how a cornerback should go after the ball while totally staying away from any chance of getting called for interfering with the receiver.
I’ve been saying from the first day of New Orleans’ training camp that Bush looks healthier now than at any point I remember since he’s been in the NFL. I also thought he looks faster -- and he wasn’t slow to begin with. Watching Bush against the Chargers only added to my hunch that we’re going to see a big season from this guy. He did everything well Friday night -- and I’m not just talking running the ball or catching it. I saw Bush make a couple of very nice blocks. By the way, Pierre Thomas also looked good and so did Chris Ivory. Do the Saints still really need to go out and add another running back?
Anytime the Saints have their offense on the field, there is the potential for a spectacular play. The best of Friday night? When Devery Henderson caught a touchdown pass from Brees. Sounds simple, but it wasn’t. The ball was basically a toss-up between Henderson and a defensive back at the goal line. There was no way Henderson could catch the pass as it was. The cornerback had a shot at intercepting it. But Henderson sort of reached around the cornerback with his right arm, tipped the ball up like you would in volleyball (right over the cornerback’s head) and backed up a couple yards and caught it in the end zone.
Watching Henderson, Robert Meachem and Colston each make nice catches and remembering the Saints also have Lance Moore, Courtney Roby, Adrian Arrington and a few other prospects made me think of how a lot of readers have been asking if the Saints should trade one of their receivers. After all, they’ve got an abundance of depth. But I say they should stick with what they’ve got. The Saints have strength in numbers at wide receiver and, with the way Brees spreads the ball around, this is a beautiful situation.
Nice hit by New Orleans long-snapper Jason Kyle on punt returner Darren Sproles. I covered Kyle for a lot of years in Carolina and know him pretty well. Anytime someone suggests he’s no more than a specialist, Kyle gladly will remind you he played some linebacker early in his career. If Sproles didn’t know that before Friday, he does now.