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Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints still play with edge

CANTON, Ohio -- The offense of the New Orleans Saints was in midseason form with Drew Brees under center in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game. One drive, one touchdown, and it looked easy.

We asked earlier how this offense will adjust during Sean Payton's exile. The way we see it, there's no reason to expect a falloff because Brees feels comfortable turning to offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr.

After the Saints knocked off the Arizona Cardinals, Brees told us the team has stressed heavy and frequent communication with Carmichael, quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi and offensive line/running game aide Aaron Kromer. Judging by what we saw Sunday, it's paying off.

"We encountered this a little bit when Sean (broke his leg last season) ... just constant communication between all of us," Brees said. "I like to know what they're thinking and when they're thinking it, so that when I'm out there, it's things we've discussed, it's things we've prepared for. I can almost anticipate what's coming and why. That's when you know that you're really cooking."

Brees acknowledged relief in finally playing a football game after the "bounty" scandal soiled the team's offseason: "That's all we've wanted ... just getting on the field as quickly as possible," he said. "Probably a good thing we were chosen to play in the Hall of Fame Game."

Handlers approached. Our time was over. But as Brees walked into the Canton night, I asked him if the Saints enter this season with a chip on their shoulder.

He turned and told me, "We always have a chip on our shoulder."

Not good news for the rest of the NFC.

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