Brees' health? He looks nearly perfect

Any Saints fan who was worried about Drew Brees’ health heading into the 2014 NFL season, a word to the wise: Don’t.

Brees appeared perfectly healthy and nearly perfect in New Orleans’ 23-17 victory over Indianapolis at Indianapolis Saturday night. Playing for the first time in the preseason due to a strained oblique muscle, Brees completed 9 of 15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.

Saint Drew deftly moved around in the pocket, avoiding the rush, and used several different targets, as he is wont to do. He didn’t have the benefit of rookie flash Brandin Cooks, who missed the game with a stomach illness.

The game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate — at least not when the starters were in the game. Brees, playing only the first quarter, led the Saints to 189 yards of offense on 28 first quarter plays. The Colts could not stop him and rarely slowed him.

Other observations:

• Mark Ingram continues to run extremely hard and well. He and Pierre Thomas give the Saints a one-two punch at running back that makes the position a huge plus. If there’s a better screen pass receiver than Thomas — or a better screen combination than Brees to Thomas — I haven’t seen either.

• Kenny Vaccaro is quickly becoming one of the league’s best safeties. He is the playmaker the Saints defense has long needed.

• Can’t wait to see Cooks added to the Saints’ offensive mix with Brees making the throws. Here’s the deal: With Jimmy Graham at tight end and both Marques Colston and Cooks in the lineup, you can only double-team so many. And that’s especially true when you are having to bring your safeties up to stop what has been an effective running game.

• In short, this is the best the Saints have looked since the Super Bowl season. That includes the defense. But, as we saw Saturday night, it all starts — and ends — with No. 9.

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