Running backs always look impressive at this point in the offseason, when teams are practicing with no pads and no live tackling. But I think the New Orleans Saints' backs have looked especially good over the last few weeks.

None of them are dealing with any injury issues. Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram both look a bit leaner than usual. (But maybe that's just because they aren't wearing pads and they've both been practicing with their sleeves rolled up, showing off the "guns.")

Thomas, Ingram, Darren Sproles and Travaris Cadet have all looked lean, fast, fluid and - as Coach Sean Payton would say - "sudden."

Combine that with the Saints' obvious dedication to improving their run game this year, and I really think all of the top three guys should be much more productive than they were last year.

VETERAN MOVE: Speaking of Thomas, we saw him cruise down the field on one of his patented screen passes late in Thursday's practice when backup quarterback Luke McCown dumped it off to him during a simulated two-minute drill. I get the feeling that we'd see a lot of that if McCown ever gets thrown into a game this year.

SAFETY DANCE: The defense wound up dominating both of those simulated two-minute drills Thursday, though. When the first-stringers were on the field, safety Jim Leonhard intercepted Drew Brees on just the second play of the drill after Brees overthrew Jimmy Graham. Then after the second team drove down the field a bit, cornerback Corey White tipped a pass by McCown that was intercepted by linebacker Ramon Humber.