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.
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Majority owner: Tom Benson, 87
Minority owners: Benson announced plans in January to name his wife, Gayle, his successor, and she is listed as a second owner on the team’s website. But former owner/heirs are fighting his decision in court — daughter Renee Benson and grandchildren Rita LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc.
Source of wealth: Primarily automobile dealerships and banking. Began his career by working his way up from a bookkeeper at a New Orleans Chevrolet dealership in the 1940s to eventually running, then owning his own Chevrolet dealership in San Antonio, then spawning that into ownership of more than 30 dealerships in the San Antonio and New Orleans areas over the years (according to multiple newspaper reports, including New Orleans Times-Picayune). … Also reportedly bought interest in five San Antonio banks from the 1970s to 1990s, forming Benson Financial Group, which was later sold. Got back into banking business in San Antonio in 2003, and now owns Lone Star Capital Bank there. Currently owns New Orleans Saints, NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, local TV station WVUE FOX 8, Mercedes Benz and Chevrolet dealerships in the New Orleans area and other automobile dealerships in San Antonio, Benson Tower downtown office building in New Orleans among many other real estate holdings.
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Who Dat Pierre Thomas !! A big thanks to one of the greatest guys the team has had on and off the field in a LONG time !!
Love this photo from his facebook page !
METAIRIE, La. — Has anyone ever had to work so hard for his first NFL touchdown?
New Orleans Saints receiver Nick Toon had to wait three years to finally reach the end zone. When he finally did, he had to fight his way through four Pittsburgh Steelers defenders on his way in for the 11-yard score in Sunday’s 35-32 victory.
“I’m happy for him. Especially since that wasn’t just any old catch and waltz in the end zone,” said quarterback Drew Brees, who threw a short pass in the third quarter before Toon did all of the work — stiff-arming cornerback Ike Taylor, spinning away from Taylor and safety Troy Polamalu, then absorbing two big hits near the goal line from end Brett Keisel and linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
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A quick observation of quarterback Drew Brees and how he played in the New Orleans Saints‘ 35-32 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13:
It was Brees’ best performance of the season, and the timing was uncanny.
Brees threw five touchdown passes with no turnovers just hours after the NFL Network reported that the Saints “believe they can see the finish line” with the 35-year-old quarterback, and they’re ready to go shopping for his understudy high in next year’s draft.
Brees dismissed the report Monday on Fox Sports Radio as having “absolutely no validity” and echoed coach Sean Payton by saying it was just a reporter “trying to make a splash.”
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5. New Orleans Saints, 80%
Like we alluded to earlier, the Saints are largely working off the benefit of an impossibly weak division — their closest competition for a playoff berth are the Carolina Panthers, who are currently fielding a platoon of receivers you’ve never heard of and still rely on Cam Newton to be their best running back. So basically, if the Saints can manage to be competent, they’ll find themselves in possession of a postseason birth. That’s a nice position to be in, at least until they have to play somewhere that isn’t a dome (sorry, we can’t help it).
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The Saints are in first place in the NFC South after a badly-needed road win against the Carolina Panthers, and the Cajun Cannon was very encouraged with the win and the added momentum after the win against Green Bay.
“We have to classify this as a butt-whoopin. Especially in Carolina’s back yard, you win 28-10? Tou shouldn’t be surprised! When you look a the whole game it was 2-1 in a number of categories. Almost 2-1 in total first downs, 27 for Saints, 15 for Carolina, so you talk about sustained drives.. you talk about time of possession, the Saints right at 35 mintues and Carolina only 24. When you look at that and truly break it down, you can say the Saints were in control!”
Bobby had said before the game that the running game was crucial. How did Mark Ingram’s play factor in?
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s been a rough season for the entire NFC South, but that doesn’t make tonight’s matchup between the visiting New Orleans Saints (3-4) and host Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) any less critical. The winner will take sole possession of first place as the division’s only .500 team.
The Saints are the hotter team. They just played their best game of the season four nights ago in a 44-23 rout of the Green Bay Packers, and Carolina has lost two straight. But the Saints are 0-4 on the road this season and 2-10 over their past 12 road games, including the playoffs.
That stretch includes a gut-wrenching last-minute 17-13 loss at Carolina in Week 16 of last season, which ultimately decided the NFC South title.
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Saints win in OT vs. Bucs, 37-31
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) scores on a 15-yard pass in the second quarter during the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints at the Superdome on Sunday, October 5, 2014. (Michael DeMocker, Nola.com / The Times-Picayune)