Here are just a few things that I will be looking for during tonight's game that you may want to keep in mind yourself. As always, the comment section is wide open for your thoughts and opinions. I've left some room for you guys to fill in with the players and themes you'll be watching out for tonight that I didn't mention.
And make sure you're here at 6pm Central for the start of our open game thread. For those of you who may be new to Da Chronic, an open thread is when everyone meets together on one specific post on the main page during a game or event to talk with each other as they're watching it live. Thanks to SB Nation's auto-refreshing comments feature, it just like being in a chat room. See you there.
Not So Special Teams
Yeah, yeah...you already know the deal; special teams has been the talk of the team and media all week. The Saints punt and kickoff coverage units have been getting gashed for huge chunks of yardage and giving opposing offenses a short field to work with this pre-season. All of that needs to change tonight. The Chargers present a big challenge with the quick and shifty Darren Sproles as their return specialist. I'm looking for special teams to come out very physical and very aggressive.
Two out of Three Ain't Bad
I want him. I need him. But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love Jonathan Casillas unless he starts showing up to play on a regular basis. He has performed well one game and not so well in another during the first two games of the pre-season. Tonight he'll see a bunch of action with the starters and for me personally, it's a make a break moment in my opinion forming process. This game will determine whether I jump off the Casillas bandwagon completely or get more comfortable and hold on for dear life. It's in his hands.
Keeping it Clean
Last week the Saints played sloppy, getting penalized nine times for 97 yards which was 41 yards more than their opponent. What hurts just as much are the 60 yards gained by the offense and special teams that were nullified due to penalty. They're just pissing away yards and I doubt Sean Payton likes that very much. Look for a tighter game from all parties.
This is basically the last time the starters will see the field before the regular season opens, getting little to no playing time in the final pre-season game. While these games are meaningful, the last thing the Saints need is to see a valuable team member go down with a serious injury in a game that doesn't count. They can still play tough but should also play smart. Reggie Bush should keep his feet on the ground and Thomas Morstead doesn't need to be a hero.
Players to Watch
Patrick Ramsey - When Drew is finished for the night, Ramsey will be getting extensive work in the second half. Chase Daniel set the bar pretty high in the quarterback battle with his excellent performance last week against the Texans. This will be Ramsey's chance to respond and stay relevant.
DeShawn Wynn/Ladell Betts - We don't know if either of these guys will actually play tonight, but Payton said he would like to get them some work depending on how the game goes. If either gets a chance to tote the rock, look to see whether they pose any threat to Chris Ivory or whether they're just battling for a possible fourth RB spot between the two of them.
Reggie Bush - This might be an unconventional choice but Reggie has shown a lot of promise lately. More so than usual. It would be great to see one last pre-season performance of that tough, straight ahead running we've come to expect. If he can ring up another 45+ yard effort in limited action like he did last week then I will be a very happy man.