NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints giving fans exactly what they were hoping to see to start the 2023 preseason was a nice touch. The Saints delivered better quarterback play, better defense, and even topped it off with exhibition game silliness in a 26-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The best part about preseason football is we can just ignore the parts we don’t like and let the fun parts wash over us like a nice cool breeze on a hot summer afternoon.
The Saints delivered the goods right from the jump. New quarterback Derek Carr finished 6 of 8 for 70 yards and a touchdown. Carr looked poised, decisive, and it helped Chief defensive players were rarely close enough to even read his jersey number. YEAH offensive line!
The one thing that really stood out about Carr that I didn’t expect… he’s more athletic and mobile than you think, and his arm talent is off the charts. A couple of throws with just a flick of his wrist were underrated WOW moments. Drew Brees was an amazing Hall of Fame quarterback, but Drew amazed us with his accuracy and just a relentless drive to do everything perfectly. Drew Brees didn’t traffic in the ‘How did he do that?” type of throws. It was always, “Of course, Drew Brees just went 27-30 for 375 yards, that’s what he does.”
Carr is going to be a different experience. There’s going to be a lot of “OMG did Carr just avoid a sack and throw a 65-yard frozen rope off one foot to Chris Olave? Yes. He. Did.”
Also Carr’s postgame interview was strangely captivating. I don’t know if it’s his soothing voice, but that man was talking about following Eric McCoy into the parking lot and finding pregame snacks and I WAS MORE LOCKED IN than my son when he plays Roblox on his iPad.
Carr looked good but Alvin Kamara looked like PEAK AK. It felt like Kamara caught more passes during the first Saints drive than he had the previous 2 seasons combined. Dennis Allen, Alvin is ready to go, put him and Jamaal Williams in bubble wrap for the rest of August.
After the knee injury to rookie Kendre Miller, Dennis might even need to go full Colonel Nathan Jessup from A Few Good Men with Williams. “He is not to be touched.”
Better safe than sorry.
Juwan Johnson looked every bit like a guy who is going to love having Derek Carr throwing him passes. Michael Thomas even got us some good vibes by making a great sliding catch.
The hype about rookie AT Perry has officially reached unsafe FDA levels after his 6 catches for 70 yards and a TD performance.
While the offense looked nearly perfect, the defense looked just as good while the starters were in.
The revamped defensive line had a 4th down stop. New Saints defensive tackle Khalan Saunders was even doing the worm after big plays. Nothing is more fun on defense than a happy-go-lucky defensive tackle. The vibes on defense are IMMACULATE. Sure the secondary was burned to the ground quite a few times once the Saints were ahead 17-0 but bad things during preseason games are like a 75-degree New Orleans day in August….never happened, didn’t happen. Stop talking about nonsense.
A fun Sunday afternoon of exhibition football was capped off by an ending that needed Benny Hill music.
Rookie Saints quarterback Jake Haener led a fun comeback that ended in a game-winning 2-point conversion try that I’ll generously call unorganized. It looked so chaotic for a split second I thought Les Miles and the University of Stanford Band were going to appear.
Good thing Chiefs coach Andy Reid wanted in on the late-game football comedy and decided to throw a screen pass for no apparent reason, which the Saints promptly intercepted, which allowed rookie kicker Blake Grupe to hit the game-winning kick. The Saints preseason gave us plenty to love, just a few bad things we can easily ignore, and a silly giggle-inducing ending.