NEW ORLEANS -- Pay no attention to the final score.
All in all, the New Orleans Saints acquitted themselves nicely Sunday night for acting head coach Joe Vitt and potential interim coaches in wait, Pete Carmichael, Aaron Kromer and Steve Spagnuolo.
On this night, they made Sean Payton proud and 'Did Their Jobs'!
Some quick observations before unveiling my roster breakdown after one exhibition:
• However the final 53 roster plays out, there are going to be a handful of cuts who will have a chance to make other teams.
• I was not surprised by the way the first-team offense operated with Drew Brees under center after barely a week in pads. Roll the ball out and get out of the way. He belongs in the Hall of Fame now.
• As well as Brees played in one series, backup Chase Daniel also distinguished himself, albeit he threw an ill-advised pass into triple coverage that resulted in an interception in the end zone in the third quarter. Otherwise, a really solid job by CD10.
• It appears the Saints scouting department uncovered a few more small college gems: CB Laron Scott (Georgia Southern), RB Travaris Cadet (Appalachian State) and RB Joe Banyard (Texas-El Paso), among others. Surprisingly, Scott was waived Monday.
• A reminder to third-year WR Adrian Arrington, who sat out Sunday night's game with a minor knee injury: You can't make the club in the tub!
• Don't see any way the Saints can keep both Courtney Roby and Joe Morgan, each of whom can contribute on special teams and round out the depth chart at wide receiver. Each is a serious threat to bump Arrington off the final 53.
• Not so sure the Saints have eight roster-ready offensive linemen at this point. Same can be said in the secondary where 10 is a typical number.
• From top to bottom, the defensive line is the deepest it has been under Payton's watch. There will be several tough cuts there.
• Converted LB Martez Wilson scored a high grade as a pass rusher. Question is, can he do it against the run?
• Barring an injury to K Garrett Hartley, I can't imagine K John Kasay making the final 53. No way, no how. Right?
• It also will be difficult for two fullbacks to make the final 53. It will be an either, or situation. If that's the case, I'll take Jed Collins over Korey Hall.
• Punter Thomas Morstead never ceases to amaze. Good move by GM Mickey Loomis to lock him up through 2018 with a six-year, $21.9 million extension.
• If not in New Orleans, there must a roster spot somewhere in the NFL for WR Andy Tanner. He may not have the physical qualities teams look for, but he can play.
• A little lagniappe: Unproven QB Kevin Kolb is not the answer in Arizona, the replacement refs received passing grades but shouldn't quit their day jobs, the new practice restrictions will make for some shoddy tackling in the early going as we saw by both teams last night, and Sedrick Ellis' takedown of Kolb in the end zone could easily be characterized as a "knockout.''
• And finally, I'm not budging on my prediction. Regardless how the Bounty sanctions play out, the Saints are a double-digit win team, should win the NFC South and are a legitimate contender to reach Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Without further adieu, in honor of the 2012 London Olympics, I have broken the roster into three categories: Gold (as in good as gold), Silver (as in bubble prospects) and Bronze (may need divine intervention).
QBs: Drew Brees, Chase Daniel .
RBs: Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles (KR/PR), Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory.
FB: Jed Collins.
TEs: Jimmy Graham, David Thomas, Michael Higgins.
WRs: Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Adrian Arrington, Nick Toon, Courtney Roby.
OL: T Jermon Bushrod, T Zach Strief, T Charles Brown, G Jahri Evans, G Ben Grubbs, C Brian De La Puente, C/G Matt Tennant.
LS: Justin Drescher
K: Garrett Hartley
P: Thomas Morstead
DL: DE Cameron Jordan, DE Turk McBride, DE Junior Galette, DE Martez Wilson, DT Sedrick Ellis, DT Brodrick Bunkley, DT Remi Ayodele, DT Tom Johnson, DT Will Smith*.
LBs: Curtis Lofton, Chris Claiborne, David Hawthorne, Scott Shanle, Jonathan Casillas, Will Herring, Jonathan Vilma*.
DBs: CB Jabari Greer, CB Patrick Robinson, CB Johnny Patrick, CB Marquis Johnson, CB Corey White, S Malcolm Jenkins, S Roman Harper, S Jonathon Amaya, S Isa Abdul-Quddus.
* Facing suspensions for roles in Bounty scandal
WR Joseph Morgan, FB Korey Hall, RB Travaris Cadet, RB Joe Banyard, T Marcel Jones, G Andrew Tiller, DT Akiem Hicks, LB Nate Bussey, LB Lawrence Wilson, LB Ezra Butler, LB Ramon Humber, CB Elbert Mack.
QB Luke McCown, QB Sean Canfield, G Eric Olsen, T Fenuki Tupou, K John Kasay, WR Andy Tanner, S Jerico Nelson.
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