1 What we learned

It’s hard to know what to think about the Saints. This team did several things well. It also struggled in the red zone, couldn’t get a vertical attack going, and had just as many negatives as positives on defense. There were also several key players missing on both sides of the ball, including safety Jairus Byrd, cornerback Keenan Lewis, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and running back C.J. Spiller. As I said earlier in the week, this was a soft opening. It’s still hard to know who or what this team will be. We won’t be any closer to finding out until a few of those guys get back on the field.

2 Trending now

Remember when Mark Ingram who was wasn’t often utilized in the passing game? Heading into Sunday’s game, he had not recorded more than 39 receiving yards or been targeted more than seven times in a contest. He finished with eight receptions for 98 yards on nine targets against the Cardinals. Ingram emerged as a viable receiver throughout camp. He probably won’t be the leading receiver most weeks — Arizona’s defense forced a more horizontal passing attack — but he should be more involved this year.

3 Final thoughts

As far as losses go, this one wasn’t as bad as the season-opening loss to the Atlanta Falcons last year. That one felt more disheartening, and a lot of the issues were foreshadowed. The defense couldn’t make tackles and was not assignment sound. The issues in this one were more about penalties and an offense that couldn’t solve the red zone. Those issues should be fixed. It’s still hard to know where this team is headed. But it’s probably better to pursue it with a team that has fixable errors than fatal flaws.

— Nick Underhill