New Orleans Saints excited to get preseason started with game against Arizona Cardinals
Interim coach Joe Vitt is looking for overall physicality. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael is looking for tempo. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is looking for tackling.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees prepares to throw the ball during Saints Camp in Metairie on Friday. The star quarterback probably will only play the first series against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night.
From the sound of it, the New Orleans Saints are living by suspended Coach Sean Payton's exiting mantra of "Do Your Job" as the team opens up the preseason schedule tonight against the Arizona Cardinals at the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
Each coordinator and position group coach will have his own mini agenda they're looking for in tonight's game. The hope for the Saints is that it all translates to the overall goal of evaluation. Any player or position coach would likely say that this first preseason game is a significant step in the evaluation process.
"Can (a player) finish every play?" Vitt said. "Can he finish every series? Can he finish every down, quarter, and half? Then this, does the player know what to do? Does he know how to do it? Does he know what to do? Does he know how to get them? Those things are the things that we are looking at."
Vitt wouldn't reveal just how many snaps each level of the depth chart will receive, but it's likely quarterback Drew Brees and the first-team offense will play no more than one series. The first-team defense could have the same script as the offense.
Vitt went into no details of how many snaps each level on the depth chart will receive tonight during his last meeting with the media Friday. All Vitt said was that he'll treat tonight's game the same way the Saints treated the 2007 Hall of Fame Game when they played the Steelers.
Brees threw six passes in that game and played in two series as then-backup Jamie Martin took over late in the first quarter. Jason Fife played the third quarter, while Tyler Palko took snaps in the fourth quarter. The same scenario should play out against Arizona with Chase Daniel playing the rest of the first half after Brees exits. Sean Canfield and Luke McCown should take all of the second half snaps.
That still won't stop Brees from wanting to play his best albeit for a brief period to open the game.
BRETT DUKE / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE
New Orleans Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt watches practice during Saints Camp in Metairie on Friday. Vitt said he will use Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals mainly for evaluation purposes.
"I think preseason there is a purpose," Brees said. "When you go out there and you understand that you are not going to play a lot. Especially, the first preseason game but when you are out there you want to look sharp. There are just certain things that you want to happen. You want to be playing with great tempo. You want no to minimal mistakes, just playing fast. Is it all going to be perfect? No. But especially with the first group you want to get back in the flow and the rhythm."
This is obviously the first dress rehearsal for the Saints' new defensive scheme from architect Spagnuolo, who said he understands everything won't be perfect the first time around. But Spagnuolo said he preached to his players how fundamentals will be the key sticking point against Arizona.
"The one thing we haven't done is tackle, tackle to the ground, I would put that first on the list," Spagnuolo said. "Then it would be getting off blocks. And probably the third thing for me would be communication. We're confident in the system that the guys are communicating enough confidently. And then things start to come together. So I'll be looking for those three things."
What does he mean by situational periods? He said they were behind in situational periods, what exactly is that?
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