It must be a bummer to be a New Orleans Saints fan.

Sure, the Saints pounded the stuffing out of the Eagles today at Lincoln Financial Field to start the season with a 2-0 record. That's some consolation. But their fans don't get to savor the gee-whiz brilliance of Andy Reid's Wildcat package. They get boring old Sean Payton, who let Drew Brees take every snap, develop a rhythm and mixed in an effective running game. How can you impress the boys down at the Head Coaches Cigar Club and Old Boys Network that way?

While Reid and assistants Marty Mornhinweg, Rube Goldberg and Inspector Gadget were in the lab plotting wacky new alignments, Payton and his staff wasted time on blocking, tackling, running offensive plays without illegal-formation penalties and executing on special teams without penalties or turnovers.

"It didn't look like the Eagles that we're used to seeing when Donovan [McNabb] is the quarterback," said backup QB Jeff Garcia, who had a pretty good vantage point from the sideline. "The change-ups on the offense with the running backs and the receivers in the backfield, those gave us some decent plays, but that's not what we're used to seeing. For Kevin [Kolb] as a quarterback, it never really allowed him to kind of get in that rhythm we would like to see, and never got [Brian] Westbrook really involved, either, and that's a big weapon for this team."

Any coach can leave the change-ups to Cole Hamels. Garcia is obviously one of those football purists who fixate on mundane details such as the final score. But Reid clearly outcoached Payton. He had DeSean Jackson taking snaps and Westbrook throwing passes and left tackle Jason Peters split wide like a 300-pound receiver. It was so cool.

It wasn't NFL football, but it was cool.

After the game, a New Orleans reporter asked veteran safety Darren Sharper if he'd seen that many formations since his days in Pop Warner.

"That's what it reminded us of," Sharper said.

In fairness, Sharper went on to say that the multiple formations and unpredictable alignments did create a challenge for the Saints defense. He also said he believed Reid did more Wildcat stuff in order to take pressure off Kolb, who was making his first start in place of the injured McNabb.

Reid indicated otherwise, however.

"We probably would have still used it [if McNabb had played]," Reid said.

Reid deemed the Wildcat package a success, which means he's apt to use it just as much when McNabb returns - and possibly more once Michael Vick is ready to step into the mix.

"That was one of the pluses," Reid said of his bag of trick plays. "We had some production with that."

It depends on how you judge it. Sure, it looks zany and deceptive when Jackson or Westbrook takes a snap and either runs, hands off or throws the ball. Jackson ran three times out of the Wildcat for 15 yards. That's 5 yards per run. When he lined up at his actual position, he caught four passes for 101 yards. That's more than 25 yards per catch. Mix in the five times Jackson was a target and didn't catch the ball and he still averaged more than twice as many yards as a receiver than a Wildcat runner.

Westbrook ran out of the Wildcat formation four times for 30 yards. Twice he took the snap and twice he simply took handoffs from Jackson. Those who recall Westbrook's career before the glorious onset of the Wildcat may choose to believe Westbrook would have done just as well taking handoffs from Kolb.

A theory, given Reid's well-known disdain for the running game: The Wildcat packs enough coaching-with-a-capital-C ego appeal to make running the football almost as interesting as throwing it.

Ultimately, the formation puts a lesser quarterback behind center and often splits a lesser receiver, the regular QB, out wide. The Saints did not seem to waste a lot of their energy trying to cover Kolb.

Can the Wildcat create some confusion in a defense and lead to some positive plays? Sure. So can a well-executed end-around or other gadget play. But lining up in some version of the Wildcat every other play or so, as the Eagles did during the second quarter, has a whiff of desperation about it.

And while Kolb said the right things about not feeling disrupted by the Wildcat, it took the agenda-free Garcia to put it all in perspective.

"There has to be some trust," Garcia said. "I know the coaches trust [Kolb], but trust him to do the right thing and let's just go out and play football the way we're used to playing football."

Garcia must be the type who would prefer a boring old win to a brilliant, innovative loss. Some people just don't get it.