Oh man, oh man! If there’s something to ever get excited about in week 3 of preseason, it’s to see the first teamers out there. Now, if you want to be blown away with excitement, well then, you watched the Saints vs the Jets this past Saturday. Drew Brees was awesome in a single series, and that’s all we need. Michael Thomas is on point, and who cares about anything else? But what about the rest of the team? And what about these kids trying to get on the final 53? Put on your swimsuits, because we’re getting wet. Let’s go.
WHY TO GET EXCITED?
4 for 6 and 68 yards into the drive, Drew Brees had a touchdown to Michael Thomas, and on the 7th pass opportunity he rested. Actually, they just kicked an extra point. But that doesn’t do justice to how amazing Drew looked, and how excited we should be for 2019.
Drew threw twice into traffic to Thomas, both completions, the second being a perfect 19 yard strike for a touchdown. I always feel that with every pass completion Drew makes now, it is a football into the mouth of a naysayer to choke on. Drew Brees for president in 2020.
Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara:
Oh I don’t know, do you think they’re ready for the 2019 season? I believe the only thing right now that we can ask for is, “Sean Payton, please give them 0 snaps in week 4 of preseason. You’re making us nervous!”
He fumbled! Get him off the team! He ran back a beautiful return for a touchdown! Put him on the team! Deonte has looked amazing all preseason, and he finally ran routes and caught 2 balls! Harris’ fumble was a punch out by the Jets, which he miraculously recovered and still turned into decent yardage, all things considered. I’m shocked every time this division III kid touches the ball. And ball security is very workable. What is not fixable is comfortability and grace, which he has both.
It’s hard not to argure that he made his greatest case for making the team today. He led the team overall in catches with 5 receptions for 83 yards. It doesn’t stop there. Danny has been getting all the best looks, and the way the offseason has played out, it’s really looked like a race between him and Garrett Griffin, and then Griffin went down with a serious looking injury unfortunately in Saturday’s game. The number 3 tight end spot has gotten ingriguing with receiver-turned-tight end Dan Arnold looking good in his second year as a pro, and it’s hard to argue him not being the number 3 now, despite late camp arrival AJ Derby’s good showing.
I put him back in the preseason “excited” category, because he is our slated number 2, and our opinion of him wavered after week 2’s performance. Payton covered for Teddy after week 2, citing an undisclosed illness (the runs is still my vote), and I thought he rebounded nicely. He wasn’t amazing, but he was definitely more settled and comfortable than last time.
Marshon has been quietly upping the tempo in his games. Last Saturday, his time in the game was short in the first quarter, and he still shined with a fumble recovery after a beautiful strip tackle from Jets running back Ty Montgomery.
This position group enjoyed an all around good game. The only two sacks in the game for the Saints were from team hopefuls Vince Biegel and Porter Gustin. All tackles made in the backfield for the Saints came from the linebackers all night. They were the best group throughout the game Saturday. High fives all around.
WHY TO GET WORRIED?
It’s not that there were any players that laid eggs exactly, but there are definitely some depth concerns. And none of it’s news, but the fact that it’s trending throughout preseason so far has me raising the flag of concern (it’s a mustard yellow if you were wondering).
Why won’t these kids turn into badasses?!?!? I need Tre’quan and Keith to show some year two growth before I go out on the front lawn and change flags. If we relied only on preseason football games and public training camp days, the 2019 Saints wide receiver group would be: Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Butler, Cyril Grayson, Jr, Deonte Harris, Austin Carr, and Simmie Cobbs, Jr. I promise you it’s not, and we should be grateful for that.
I’ll go into this more during the O line: Part 2 write up (coming soon), but our backup world on the offensive line sure does seem to be thin at tackle. Lots of guard options, but not so much tackle, unless we plan on starting 5 guards across the line. In that case, never mind. We’re good to go.
So we know Lattimore is our clear #1 CB, Eli Apple has shown out to be a pretty decent #2, and if he could be more consistent, I’d change that “decent” to a “sweet”. But our slot and general backup group is looking very worrisome. Yes Ken Crawley is not doing well. Not a surprise. P.J. Williams is not doing well. Sort of a surprise. Patrick Robinson has looked plain dreadful at times. Biggest surprise.
Who is there after those three?? Let me worry you some more. Justin Hardee? Oh you mean the special teams standout? Yeah no. Marcus Sherels, who’s been injured the whole offseason and allowed some Division III whippersnapper to waltz in and steal HIS special teams job? Still no. Or finally, Kayvon Webster. He didn’t even play Saturday, and he looked mediocre in week 2. It’s not looking good right now, Saints fans. Strap on your cleats, Sterling Moore, you’re going back in!
It’s still preseason, and there’s still room for improvement. We also have a deep roster overall, if not one of the deepest in the league, and so having a team as good as the Saints makes us knitpick more and put tiny negatives under the microscopes.
When roster cuts come this Saturday after the final preseason snoozer, 31 other NFL franchises are going to be swooping in and picking up our cuts like vultures to carcasses. It sucks that we’ll lose some talent to the waivers, but we have to have faith in our scouts that we’ll bring in some promising young talent to try and develop for our future. Remember that Taysom Hill fella? This is a good problem to have. Cheers, everyone!
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