Originally written on Chicks in the Huddle  |  Last updated 11/15/14

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24: Drew Brees #9 (R) and Mark Brunell #11 of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after their 31-28 overtime win against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

All offseason long, the Saints have been vowing to put the ugliness of the bounty scandal and Drew Brees’ contract battle behind them and get down to football when the time was right. At last night’s hall of fame game against the Cardinals, they appeared to be doing just that. It was a thing of beauty to watch them storm the field again, with their heads held high. There is no doubt they’re about business…perhaps now more than ever.

For anyone who wondered whether Drew Brees was worth all the offseason fuss, did that first drive quiet your thoughts? He was 4/5 for 41 yards. I’m still not quite sure what I loved better: watching him run that offense like a well-oiled machine or watching how cool he was on the sidelines for the rest of the game, chomping on sunflower seeds.

As expected, we had to suffer through a bounty-licious pregame show. It was an obnoxious yet predictable walk down memory lane with a seemingly endless marathon of speculation about the fate of the Saints. It only further solidified why I’d rather jab porcupine needles into my nipples than listen to the NFL Network “analysts”.

Moving along from that visual…

Let’s focus forward on players who stood out, other than the players we expected to stand out. Malcolm Jenkins came up with a huge interception on a bad Kevin Kolb pass. It was a big play, given how few turnovers the Saints managed to rack up last season. Then there was the “Don’t worry, we’ll injure you for free” sack that took Kolb out of the game, courtesy of one Sedrick Ellis. This play wasn’t just big because it stopped the drive but because it shows the Saints’ defenders aren’t going to be afraid to be aggressive this season, even with all the stigma associated with their unit. Former Falcon Curtis Lofton and sophomore Saint Martez Wilson also had big nights, bringing much needed speed and agility to the linebacker position. Of course, you can never read too much into the first preseason game but my gut tells me the Steve Spagnuolo era will be quite delightful.

Even though we didn’t score 70 points, I was thoroughly impressed with the Saints’ first outing. And for the first time in a long time, I felt all googly-eyed about football again. I’ll admit, this offseason was rough…a total downer in fact. But the game is back and so is my team. Let the road to “Two Dat” begin…

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