We sat down with Kevin Skiver from the Canal Street Chronicles, SB Nation's New Orleans Saints blog. We got to ask a few questions about the first preseason game right ahead of the 7:30 pm
1) How much of the starting team will be playing at least some snaps tonight?
I'd expect the entire starting squad to at least get reps tonight. The Saints are in a year with a lot of turnover but a lot of talent, so it will be important to determine who meshes with who on the field, especially in the secondary. Everyone needs to at least shake some rust off, and unless guys are injured (Jairus Byrd, for example), they'll see some playing time. The only problem with that line of thought is that Sean Payton is very mum on injuries in training camp, so a lot of Saints fans and media are in the dark about who may or may not be playing as well.
2) How much will the Jimmy Graham departure hurt this time in the short term but help them in the long term, if at all?
The Jimmy Graham trade will certainly hurt the Saints' in the sense that Drew Brees loses a security blanket for the short term, but they got a lot of talent out of that draft and deal as well. It can be surmised that the Saints got Max Unger for their abysmal interior line play last season, and they also flipped the 31st pick into ILB Stephone Anthony, who has been stellar in training camp to this point. There may be somewhat of a decrease in Brees's passing numbers, but the Saints don't want him shouldering the load like he has been since '06, so there could be more of a shift from the Saints heading into this season in terms of offensive philosophy (a shift that already began last season with an uptake in the running game).
3) Who are some of the players for the Saints that Ravens fans should keep an eye out for?
The big guy to look out for right now is Brandon Coleman. Coleman is a big bodied receiver that has made serious strides in camp. He was an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers last season, but couldn't make the starting squad on a busy roster. With the departure of Kenny Stills and the fading of Marques Colston, the Saints should look to use Coleman more in 2015. The other big name to look for on the other side of the ball is Delvin Breaux. Breaux is an absolutely phenomenal story, who is about 9 years removed from fracturing 3 of his vertebrae in high school. He's an athletic freak that dominated in the CFL for two years, and is now looking to translate his athleticism to the NFL for the first time.
4) With Brees at the tail end of his career, is there a guy on the team right now that could eventually be his successor?
Who knows how succession stories will go for NFL quarterbacks, but the Saints did draft Colorado State Quarterback Garrett Grayson in this year's draft in the third round, an awfully high round for a camp body. Grayson is a big, pocket bound quarterback that will need to work on his footwork in the NFL, but he is Sean Payton's presumed next step once Drew Brees hangs up the cleats.
5) How do you think the Saints attack the Ravens? Is it more through the air to get Brees and his new weapons more used to each other or on the ground as they want to test out their backs heavily?
The Saints will likely look for a healthy mix of rush and pass plays against the Ravens, as both positions have experienced a bit of an overhaul. Mark Ingram may get limited reps, but running back Tim Hightower is fighting hard for a roster spot in a busy backfield. Meanwhile, the aforementioned Coleman and receiver Seantavius Jones are looking to get some experience with Brees. The Saints will likely try to start the game balanced, and when Grayson comes in they may pepper in 4-6 short passes in a row before going to a more traditional grounded offense (that's speculation, mind you). All in all, Payton doesn't call preseason games completely differently from regular season ones, so expect a heavy dose of both the air and ground games.