Saints' Drew Brees gets to show off new toys Brandin Cooks, Brandon Coleman

The New Orleans Saints open the preseason at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday on the road against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Here are a couple things to watch for during the game:

Why to watch: The most exciting thing to watch for is an explosive play from quarterback Drew Brees to dynamic second-year receiver Brandin Cooks, who should emerge as the Saints’ top playmaker this year now that Jimmy Graham is gone. But the first-string offense won’t be on the field long, and we know what roles those guys will be playing in Week 1. We could see even more from second-year big man Brandon Coleman, who I think could emerge as New Orleans’ No. 3 receiver this year, and under-the-radar receiver Willie Snead, who has been making a strong case in camp to crack the roster. … Others growing into bigger roles include first-round draft pick Stephone Anthony, who is trying to lock down the starting middle linebacker job, cornerback Delvin Breaux and defensive linemen Bobby Richardson and Tyeler Davison.

Did you know: One of the most intriguing battles on the Saints’ roster is at kicker, where neither Dustin Hopkins nor Zach Hocker has ever kicked in a regular-season game. Both were highly touted out of college and were drafted (Hopkins by the Buffalo Bills in 2013 and Hocker by the Washington Redskins last year), but they weren’t able to crack the roster. They’ve both been killing it in practice this week – including matching 59-yard field goals that forced the coaches to run laps on Sunday. Hopkins has the early edge because of his stronger leg and consistency in practice. But nothing will matter nearly as much as how they perform under the lights in these four exhibition games.