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What I’ll Be Watching In The Saints Preseason Opener

Finally, we have Saints football to watch as the Saints open the preseason against the defending SuperBowl champion Chiefs. Yes, it’s the pre-season but there is still plenty we can take from the action. These are the 5 things ill be keenly watching this Sunday. 

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How Does The First String Offense Look

Dennis Allen has already confirmed that we will see the starters on Sunday Vs the Chiefs, Jeff Duncan from, tweeted that he’s hearing the starters will play around 15 snaps. 

Jeff Duncan on Twitter: “Sounds like the plan is for the Saints’ starters to play about 15 snaps in the preseason opener vs. K.C. on Sunday, with the 2s getting roughly 25 snaps and the 3s finishing out the game.” / X

That means we get to see Derek Carr for the first time in a Saints jersey and would be nice to see an efficient and effective display (similar to Winston against the Jags last pre-season). We should also see Mike Thomas back in game action, Thomas hasn’t been his usual dominant self so far in camp, game action against CBs other than Marshon Lattimore will be a good gauge of where Thomas is at. It goes without saying the ceiling of this team is a lot higher if Thomas is on form, if not I do have concerns about the depth at WR.

Part of the starting offense should be LT Trevor Penning another player who lifts the ceiling of this team considerably. He’s had two significant foot injuries one on each foot meaning he missed a lot of his rookie season. Time on task is the order of the off-season for Penning as mental reps will only get him so far. It sounds like the Chiefs will also play their starters to begin the game, so should be a good test for Penning, especially in pass protection which so far, he requires more work on compared to his already dominant run blocking. 

Along with Penning the overall play of the starting O-line is really something to monitor, the reports from camp are that the D-line has dominated, this game should give us some idea of if the D-line is just that good or the O-line is something we should be concerned about.

Finally, Chris Olave and Alvin Kamara have both had dominant training camps per reports, Olave has gained weight to be stronger in contested catch situations and Kamara has a new trainer who has reportedly brought back his infamous burst, again would be nice to see these results in a game.

The CB2 battle

Entering the off-season, I expected this battle to already be over, after Alontae Taylor’s impressive rookie season and Paulson Adebo’s sophomore slump the CB2 spot looked to be Taylor’s to lose. So far in camp, Taylor looks to have done just that, Adebo a camp star a year ago has again been excellent and Taylor has started slow, but has improved in recent practices, but overall Adebo is ahead.

Game action is important in this battle as Adebo is notoriously physical in practice which means at times he wins reps in a dominant fashion which makes him standout. Without refs present it’s hard to tell if his physicality is just enough or a bit too much. If, as the pre-season goes along Adebo is walking the line to closing leading to flags that would change the complexion of this battle in Taylor’s favour. Sunday is the start of a long road ahead to decide who CB2 opposite Marshon Lattimore will be.

The Backup Safety Battle

The top of the depth chart is set with Tyrann Mathieu, Marcus Maye and special teams star J.T. Gray. Behind them, 5th-round rookie Jordan Howden seems to be locked in too. Howden has received first-team reps at both Safety spots when Mathieu and Maye have been absent and has also been the first-choice DIME DB throughout the summer.

That makes 4, leaving most likely 2, maybe 3 roster spots up for grabs, the amount the Saints keep will depend on A). how they plan to run their special teams this year (i.e. more LBs or more DBs) and B). if Marcus Maye ends up being suspended.

Leaving, Lonnie Johnson Jr., Jonathan Abram, Ugo Amadi and Smoke Monday to fight for those spots and all three have had bright moments in camp. All 4 should feature on special teams and all 4 bring very different skill sets. I had Johnson Jr and Amadi making the initial 53 in my most recent projection (link to that here to see my reasons

However, since I wrote this Monday has been on a tear. So it’s really turning into one of the most interesting and unpredictable positions groups on the team, where it’s likely only game action will be able to give us a clearer picture. With Mathieu and Maye both getting up there in age and both with only 2 years left on their deals, it doesn’t hurt to have one eye on the future here too to see if the Saints may have a succession plan for one or both already on the roster.

The New Look D-Line

The Saints drafted Bryan Bresee and Isiah Foskey with their first two picks in this year’s draft and added Nathan Shepherd and Khalen Saunders in FA but that’s the only reason I’ve labelled the D-line as ‘new look’. 

Mike Triplett wrote an article for explaining that HC Dennis Allen alongside new D-line coach Todd Grantham wanted to defensive front to be more attacking and aggressive. DA has also commented that he thinks they had gone a little overboard with their weight expectations, meaning that players met with Matt Rhea the Saints Director of sports science to work out the player’s ideal playing weight with many players losing around 8 lbs.

This means the D-line should have more burst and athleticism whilst still being a bigger line than most. Of the new faces, I am most excited to see first-round pick Bryan Bresee, who by all accounts has transitioned well so far to the NFL world. He’s got an ELITE first step which I think is going to produce some wow plays this season, Sunday against possibly 3rd/4th string lineman? look out!

Finally, are Granderson and Turner for real? both have had really good camps so far, Granderson especially. Similar to my question earlier regarding the O-line is this true growth at a position the Saints really need or is this a product of poor O-line play?

Quick Hitters

LB Depth- Has Baun finally developed? (although we’ve been fooled by his preseason play before) who’s ahead? Nephi Sewell or D’Marco Jackson? as the man backup behind Demarion Davis and Pete Werner.

Jake Haener – One of ‘My Guys’ leading up to the draft has been excellent in camp so far, does that continue in-game action? this might be the most excited I’ve been to watch 3/4th stringers because of solely Haener.

Kendre Miller– I think a lot of people on the national stage are going to be talking about him once they see him play.

Who the hell is WR5/6??– I thought this might finally have been the year Tre’Quan Smith was knocked off the roster, that doesn’t appear to be the case and Smith seems locked in as the WR4 but who is going to grab the bull by the horns and take the last 1 or 2 spots? prime candidates, A.T. Perry, Keith Kirkwood, Bryan Edwards and James Washington.

Is Jimmy Graham making this team?- It sounds like Graham could have a specialised role on this team (RedZone, 3rd downs etc…) but as a 36-year-old TE who didn’t play last season is not usually a recipe for success.

People kicking the ball- There is an open competition at both Kicker and Punter with both of the vets currently out in front but will game action change that? or further cement their lead?

Who’s returning kicks?- With Rashid Shaheed injured, do the Saints have anyone who could earn a roster spot as a returner?

i think ill leave my ramblings there, as you can probably tell I’m way excited about this preseason game.

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Week Five; New Orleans Saints Vs Seattle Seahawks Game-Recap

In what was a must-win game on Sunday in the Caesars Superdome, the Saints managed to hold on to a 39-32 victory to keep their season alive and move to 2-3 on the season. Despite the game being ludicrous from start to finish. 

Let’s break down what on earth happened in what will now forever be known as the ‘Taysom Hill game’.

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Saints Offense 

Finally!!!!! Some consistent offensive rhythm and effectiveness were achieved on Sunday. Part of me believes that this is what OC Pete Carmichael Jr has been trying to achieve since the start of the season.

How did they achieve this? Feeding Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill. Between them, they rushed for 215 yards on 32 carries, which averages out at 6.7 yards per rush. 

Kamara looked the best he has all season with 23 of those carries for 103 yards and also added Six receptions for 91 yards, including an incredibly well-executed 54-yard screen play. He did have another costly fumble; this trend sadly is continuing. It went from the Saints driving to end the half with likely a field goal or maybe a touchdown. To Seattle getting the back on the Saints side of the field and scoring a TD.

The fumbles have to stop, period. End of story and they keep coming at costly times It will lose them more games if it continues.

This was the blueprint for using Taysom Hill, He ran nine times for 112-yards and three touchdowns, and he was lethal in short yardage and in the RedZone. Whilst also adding a huge 60-yard touchdown run for good measure. 

Crucially to keep defences honest Carmichael dialled up a perfect passing play for Taysom, which resulted in a 22-yard touchdown pass for Adam Trautman. Hill commented in his post-game press conference “Hey, we really like this play, so don’t be surprised if that’s one of the first plays I get to with you”. Carmichael had seen this was going to work, dialled it up and Hill executed it perfectly.

This game plan might explain the persistence of running on first and second down, much to Saints fans dismay throughout the first 4 games of the year. This was something that ‘Sneaky Pete’ as he’s known by Saints players, knew they could do, and I think he thought the Saints offensive identity could be built around it.

The absence of Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara at the start of this season may be through a spanner in the works of his grant plan.

Now, maybe I’m reading into this too much and this was just a great matchup for this game plan and that’s why the Saints lent into and executed it, and this won’t be the plan going forward, but I firmly believe a version of this is how the Saints offense needs to try and play going forward.

Andy Dalton was again solid, he got the ball out on time and made plays when he needed to. The running game took centre stage and Dalton did what he needed to in the passing game when required.  Dalton’s thrived off play action and throw a dime to Chris Olave for a touchdown on third down in the RedZone.

Olave made an incredible play but got concussed in the process which looked scary! Fingers crossed it isn’t something that lingers A). for Olave’s health and B). because Olave looks like a stud, a true home run pick and a true number one WR in the making.  

Chris Olave’s TD catch and Injury vs. Seattle – YouTube

However, he did turn the ball over again, with a slightly inaccurate throw to Tre’Quan Smith that was picked by Tariq Woolen (I called this in my key matchups article before the game).

Dalton has not done enough to slam the door shut on Winston returning to the starting line-up after healing from his injuries. However, there’s no doubt that the offense has looked its best so far with Dalton under center.

Other Offense Notes

  • Shout out to the o-line, amazing in the run game and only allowed one sack.
  • Tre’Quan Smith again shows inconsistency, he played really well against Carolina and had the chance to make two crucial plays this week but dropped them both.
  • Mark Ingram does not look right, after showing good burst and vision against Tampa, he’s really struggled since in a game where Kamara and Hill averaged 6.7 yards-per-carry he averaged 1.8.

Saints Defense 

Well, where to start?

Let’s start with the good. 

Cameron Jordan was again great. He had 1.5 sacks both on huge third downs and looked to be around the QB plenty throughout the game, ESPN has him with 2 QB hits and 2TFLs. This is now two games in a row Cam has dominated and long may it continue. 

Linebackers Pete Werner and Demario Davis. Werner continues to shine, he’s constantly where the ball is and when he’s there he makes plays. Werner forced a crucial fumble at the start of the second half.

David Onyemata recovers D.K. Metcalf fumble – Saints Seahawks Highlights – 2022 NFL Week 5 (

Which set the Saints up with a short field which they converted into a touchdown to take the lead.

Davis is still a stud and very rarely on the wrong side of plays, it’s just Werner is standing out so much Davis is merging nicely into the background.

Finally, Marshon Lattimore, after he struggled against Justin Jefferson last week, he looked to have put together a pretty clean game against DK Metcalf. Only looked like he gave up one catch in coverage against D.K and had a PBU on another. 

Something to monitor here throughout the week. Lattimore did not finish the game after injuring his abdomen, hopefully, it’s not serious, not having him next week Vs Cincinnati would be brutal.

The Seahawks were 1-9 on third down, but still scored 32 points, which leads us onto the bad which was how Seattle managed those points with such a putrid stat line on third down.

The rest of the secondary (maybe minus Bradley Roby it was hard to tell). Paulson Adebo got roasted, gave up multiple huge plays in the passing game and really struggled against Tyler Lockett specifically. Lockett is certainly a good WR, but it is disappointing to see a player we all thought was taking a huge leap this season struggle so much. Hopefully, this was just a bad game for Adebo rather than a sign of things to come.

The safeties did not look good and Marcus Maye is definitely more missed than initially realised, they need him back this week desperately, all reports suggest they will, but there was thought he’d be back this week, so fingers crossed. Also doesn’t help not having primary backup P.J. Williams available did not help.

This meant Justin Evans was thrust into the starting role and J.T. Gray, who’s an excellent special teamer but not someone you want playing serious snaps on defense, in this game he had to contribute in this phase of the game.

Tyrann Mathieu looks like a player that is far more effective in the box than back deep at this stage of his career.  Due to injuries, he had to play the deeper role more than you’d like and I think frailties showed. 

The Saints’ defense gave up a massive eight plays of 15 yards or more and six of those were over 30 yards. Many of those were big pass plays that certainly fall on the secondary play, especially the safeties and even Kenneth Walker’s huge 69-yard touchdown run, looked like the secondary did not stay in their lanes to keep the backside contained and Walker exploited that.

Saints Special Teams

Will Lutz was great again going on-for-one on field goals ( a perfect 56-yard kick) and 4/4 on extra points.

Blake Gillikin on the other hand was not. He had four punts, two ended in touchbacks, and another was a 25-yard shank, he had the chance to pin them deep when the Saints needed it most, but that punt ended up on the Seattle 22.

Gillikin hasn’t seemed himself and maybe my expectations were too high after being excellent last season but he needs to return to be a weapon for this team.

Finally, enter the front-runner for the most bizarre play of the week. Seattle lined up to punt at their own 29 it was fourth and nine and well this happened:

Was it a fake attempt? it looked like it, but it made no sense to do it where and when they did and it had no chance from the word go. Who recovered the fumble? of course it was Taysom Hill.

Hill also had more presence on special teams when he started to return kickoffs after Deonte Harty went out. It was just Hill’s day today on his first attempt after a nice return he fumbled but recovered it himself, otherwise looked good returning kicks.


The Saints had to win this game and they found a way to today. Who knows if this will turn around their season? Penalties and turnovers are still an issue they need to fix or it will cost them games.

To be honest, though, it was just nice to see a win, with some exciting offense. 

Need to keep an eye on the injury report this week, New Orleans needs to get some good news on that front with the Joe Burrow/ Ja’Marr Chase homecoming up next for them in the Dome next Sunday.

Look out for the preview of that game later in the week New Orleans Saints – Full10Yards 

Please let me know your feedback on this article and the others throughout the season, I’m always looking to improve and add things that people want to read about!

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