It seems that it doesn’t matter what wide receivers Drew Brees has to work with. If the New Orleans Saints have a quiet offseason without any X-Gates causing team-crippling disasters, they have a good enough quarterback to make anything work.
Brees was quite close to perfection with a 14-for-18 performance, throwing for 202 yards and one touchdown. He also threw a 56-yard pass to Nick Toon, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram.
The Saints ended up beating the messed up Oakland Raiders 28-20. Ingram looked like the running back who gets more credit from Sean Payton, getting 9 carries for 30 yards, compared with Darren Sproles rushing five times for 9 yards.
The defense, which posted some of the worst numbers in history last season, looked incredible, probably too good, against a completely jumbled Raiders offensive line. The Saints got 7 sacks, including two by Glenn Foster, as Matt Flynn hit the ground five times during the game, although when he actually did get to avoid the pass rush, he was quite accurate with 12-of-16 for 124 yards and a touchdown.
The Saints secondary isn’t going to be one of the best in the NFL next season, even if it is going to be better with Rob Ryan calling the shots on defense. However, a deadly pass rush, which wasn’t the case last season, could make the difference between a team giving up so many yards each game and a defense that doesn’t force its offense into impossible aerial duels.
Brees, for now, simply seems happy with the wide receivers he has playing with him.
We asked them to do a lot. They were having to think a lot on the move. They did a great job adjusting to that and played with a lot of confidence.
Kenny Stills caught four passes for 64 yards, Darren Sproles was quite effective with five catches for 35 yards. There’s also Colston (didn’t play), Jimmy Graham and Breaston, but it seems the Saints have huge depth at the position, and anyway it doesn’t matter because Brees makes everything look good.