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Saints ready for first opponent

By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Aug. 11, 2003
METAIRIE, La. After nearly three weeks of laboring in brutal, searing heat, going over the same drills and plays over and over again, the New Orleans Saints finally get to show their immensely optimistic fans what all the fuss is about.
Sort of.
In reality, they won't unveil too much when the Philadelphia Eagles come to town to face the Saints in their preseason opener, which is set for 7 tonight in the Superdome. The contest will be televised by ESPN.
As is the nature of the football beast, the coaching staff and players are ready to hit another jersey for a change.
Not only will you not see very much from the Saints' playbook tonight, the marquee starters won't see that much action, either.
The Saints coaching staff will follow its usual preseason routine of keeping the offense and defense vanilla and will use the Eagles' contest and the subsequent other exhibition games to get a good look at a plethora of players, who are on the bubble to make the 53-man roster.
But that doesn't mean the effort won't be there.
Some of the areas the staff will be taking a hard look at are defensive tackle where there is a decided glut, as well as cornerback and linebacker.
Many teams have already played more than one preseason game this month, while the Saints have yet to take the field, only further serving to heighten the remarkable level of optimism and hype surrounding this football team.
Friday morning the team announced it had broken its all-time season ticket sales mark (53,312), just one small example of the frenzy this team's fan base is in to finally see it on the field, even if it is in preseason. And the upside is that fans will see a Super Bowl contender out of the gate. The Eagles forged a 13-5 record and fell in the NFC title game a year ago.

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