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Week 16: Rookie Standouts

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With the usual Christmas slate running over the weekend, there was plenty of action on the table this week. With plenty of gifts being exchanged (Broncos, we’re looking at you), let’s look at the rookie standouts this week:

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Brock Purdy, Quarterback – San Francisco 49ers

Is it time to take Brock Purdy seriously as the 49ers start their march towards the playoffs? Purdy now has three starts under his belt and looks more like a starting quarterback in this league than some of his peers.

In Sunday’s game, Purdy posted career highs across the board, finishing with 234 yards passing on 22 attempts, averaging 10.6 yards per attempt. While he did throw an interception, he also threw for two touchdowns. Amazingly, the 49ers have scored 2.52 points per offensive drive with Purdy under centre, which ranks fourth in the NFL, and if you were to take away the kneel-downs, it would move to 2.76, which is good enough to be the best in the league. If he continues these stellar performances, then the 49ers are going to find themselves with a real quarterback headache next season, only a year after the last one.

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Kenneth Walker III, Running Back – Seattle Seahawks

Despite the Seahawks falling to a disappointing 24-10 defeat against the Chiefs, they can once again look to their rookie running back Kenneth Walker III as a bright spot for the future, even if they do end up missing out on the playoffs.

This past week was Walker’s third game this season where he has rushed over 100 yards, with him finishing this week with 26 carries for 107 yards at a rate of 4.1 yards per carry. The elusive Walker also forced five missed tackles, and he was able to move the chains six times. He’s now sitting at 803 yards for the season, and if he produces similar performances for the last two games, he could join Seahawks Ring of Honor member Curt Warner as the only backs in franchise history to break 1000 yards rushing as a rookie.

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Cobie Durant, Cornerback – Los Angeles Rams

It’s been a stop-start season for Cobie Durant, who shone during his debut in Week 2, but after finally getting some defensive game time in the last few weeks, it seems he’s gained the trust of the Rams coaching staff, and it’s starting to pay off for the rookie.

It was easily the young defensive back’s best game of his short career, as he finished with a pair of interceptions, one of which he returned 85 yards for a touchdown to seal the 51-14 blowout of the Denver Broncos. Both of his interceptions showcased his athleticism and instincts, with the first one being a highlight reel catch as he was able to extend, tip the ball to himself, and secure the catch as he hit the turf. The question that now arises is why the Rams did not give him an opportunity sooner.

Honourable Mentions

Kenny Pickett (Pittsburgh Steelers), George Pickens (Pittsburgh Steelers), Rachaad White (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Isiah Pacheco (Kansas City Chiefs), Tyler Smith (Dallas Cowboys), and Brian Asamoah (Minnesota Vikings)

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Week 10 and 11: Rookie Standouts

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It’s been two weeks since one of my rookie roundups, thanks to a lovely bout of flu and sinusitis, and a lot has changed in that time. Firstly, I’m going to give a brief rundown of who would have made my week 10 rookies, and then let’s focus on week 11’s before our lineup of Thanksgiving football feasts later on.

Week 10 Standout Rookies 

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Christian Watson, Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers 

8 targets, 4 receptions, 107 yards, 3 touchdowns. Nuff said 

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Myjai Sanders, Edge – Arizona Cardinals 

A breakout game against the leagues worst OL. Two pressures including a sack-fumble and three run stops. 

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Charles Cross, Tackle – Seattle Seahawks 

0 pressures from 42 pass blocking snaps makes this his best performance of the season. 

Right, let’s move on to the rookies that stood out in week 11. 

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Tyler Linderbaum, Center – Baltimore Ravens 

It’s very difficult sometimes to fully appreciate how important it is to have a solid, reliable center. They don’t play a flashy position, and they rarely show up on the stat sheets despite having to both initiate each play and manipulate the defensive front depending on the play call. Despite this, I thought it was about time we spoke about the standout centre from this year’s rookie class, Tyler Linderbaum.

Linderbaum, despite experiencing some early teething problems, has improved week after week to quickly become a dominant force for the Ravens, especially on rushing plays. Baltimore averages 162.8 rushing yards per game, and Linderbaum has an impressive 77.6 PFF rating in run blocking, including a 74.1 rating this past week against the Carolina Panthers.

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Chris Olave, Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints 

On draft night, the Saints knew they needed a wide receiver, and Olave was clearly their guy as they traded up five spots to select the Ohio State alumni, giving up their own 16th pick as well as picks 98 and 120. I think it’s fair to now say that they have been able to ratify their decision as Olave continues to be a standout player on their offense. 

After finishing week 11 with five receptions for 102 yards (an average of 20.4 yards per reception) and a touchdown, the Saints rookie is now ranked in the top 15 in most of the major receiving statistics. He’s tied for 15th in receptions with 51, tied for 12th in first down conversions with 34, and is 10th in receiving yards with 760. A lot of his extra targets can likely be attributed to the injuries suffered by Thomas and Landry, but at least the Saints know they have a more than competent number one going forward.

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Aidan Hutchinson, Edge – Detroit Lions 

The Lions completely dominated the Giants this past week (much to the annoyance of this writer), but credit where credit is due, it was fully deserved. Defensively, the Lions stifled everything that the Giants had to offer outside of a few chunk plays that came after the Lions were already almost out of reach, and one huge contributor to that was Aidan Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson, who has since been crowned NFC defensive player of the week, has already made this rookie standout list before and week by week is proving his credentials in the race for defensive rookie of the season. Against the Giants, he finished the game with a pass defense, three tackles, a fumble recovery, and an interception. The interception was his second of the season, making him the second player in NFL history with two interceptions and five or more sacks in his first 10 career games 

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Five Things: Week 8 – New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks

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With the Giants falling to an uninspiring 27-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, they can still go into their bye week holding their heads up high thanks to their surprising 6-2 record. Let’s look at five things that stood out:

Mistakes Punished

When you are part of a team that has won five of its six wins this year by less than a score, you need to make sure that the fundamentals are sound, and the mistakes are kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, that was not the case on Sunday, and ultimately, it cost the Giants the game.

Though there were mistakes that led to penalties, coverage issues, and protection, the one that basically ended things for the Giants was a second fumble off a punt by Richie James. After catching the punt on the 21-yard line, James decided to return it up the field. He collided with a crowd, but instead of securing the ball with both hands, he cupped it with one and the ball broke loose again. The already leading Seahawks took the gift and bought their offence back out on the 32-yard line. Two plays later, Kenneth Walker III took advantage of some lackluster defending to walk in for the game’s last score.

Up and Down Adoree

If Adoree Jackson had come out of the game at the end of the third quarter, you probably could have said he was the best Giant out there today. Carrying on his pro bowl caliber start to the season, he had a couple of pass breakups and single-handedly helped the Giants get their first points on the board after he caused a Tyler Lockett fumble, which he recovered at the two-yard line. Unfortunately, what followed in the fourth quarter was not the high standards that Jackson holds himself to.

For starters, he was completely outrun on a 33-yard pass from ex-Giant Geno Smith that Lockett was unable to secure for what would have been a walk-in touchdown. The Giants survived, and Seattle settled for a field goal. Lockett, however, made sure he had his revenge on the next Seattle drive. He hit him with a double move and breezed into the endzone, but this time he secured the ball for the go-ahead touchdown.

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Return to the Field

If there was one heart-warming moment from Sunday’s game, it was the return of Giants offensive lineman Nick Gates. Early in the 2021 season against Washington Gates suffered such a horrific leg break that NFL refused to show any replays of it. What followed was a grueling 410 days in which Gates would go through seven total surgeries due to complications and would even be told that he could end up facing amputation. Once he was passed that even his gritty determined attitude shone through as he vowed to return to the field this season and he stuck to his promise.

Though Gates only suited up for five snaps across the total sixty-five taken by the offense you could see that the former captains’ hunger had not wavered in the slightest. Due to the length of time, he has been out, there was bound to be some “field rust” so the Giants were clever using his only as a jumbo tight end to assist with blocking.  He did make one key block however in the touchdown run by Saquon Barkley and despite ending up on his back celebrated by kicking and punching the air like an excited turtle. Redemption achieved.

Gano and Gillan

With the special teams unit having a nightmare with the two fumbles as well as poor coverage on both kick and punt returns (when it was returned), the offence not really clicking in the ground or air game and the defence struggling with the Seahawks wide receivers despite being able to sack Smith three times, you would be hard pressed to find any players that shone, but there were and it’s likely to be the two players you want to see the least.

Graham Gano continued to be pretty much automatic with his field goal attempts as he made both his attempts, one from 31 yards and the other from 45 yards. Gano this season has made 17 of his 19 attempts and is a perfect 4 for 4 kicking from over 50 yards.

His kicking buddy Jamie Gillan had what was probably his best punting game this season as he punted for an average of 53.7 yards on six punts, including downing two inside the 20 and one 69-yard boomer that was almost downed at the one.

The Tomonator

With the injuries piling up for the Giants, the rookie class from this year has been thrust into the limelight, and luckily for the Giants, most of them have been able to make plays when called upon. Although there were slow days for Wan’Dale Robinson and Kayvon Thibodeaux, there were two such rookies that had stellar days.

Fifth rounder Micah McFadden had slowly seen his snap count decrease over the last three weeks to the point where he had made none in the last two, but he had a breakout game here, recording his first career sack along with four tackles (one for a loss). However, there was one rookie that stood above all the others.

Tomon Fox, the Georgia native who went undrafted as a free agent, was tied for the team lead on tackles with eight and had to two tackles for a loss despite only playing 27 of the 64 snaps the defense faced. It’s extremely likely that if he continues to play this way, his role will increase dramatically.

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Week 7: Rookie Standouts

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With teams favoured in the offseason like the Packers, Bucs, and Broncos continuing to struggle, whilst the two written-off New York teams are shocking everyone, this NFL season seems to get stranger and stranger. In week 7, these were the rookies that stood out. 

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Kenneth Walker III, Running Back – Seattle Seahawks  

Running back seems to be a position I give a lot of love to, but the numbers some of these rookies are putting up are incredible. Unfortunately, Bryce Hall is now done for the season after his heartbreaking ACL injury, so the rookie rushing title seems to be between previous standout Dameon Pierce and this week’s standout Kenneth Walker III. 

Walker was thrust into the lineup after Rashaad Penny’s unfortunate season-ending injury, and the second rounder out of Michigan State has made the most of his opportunities. Against the Chargers, Walker was steadily working his way towards another 100-plus yard game before his blistering 74-yard touchdown run in the middle of the 4th quarter, which saw him hit 22.09 miles per hour, the fastest speed by a ball carrier this season. 

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Sam Williams, Edge – Dallas Cowboys 

In a defence that already has reigning defensive rookie of the year Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong and Demarcus Williams, the last thing the league wanted to see was another Dallas defender breakout, but that’s exactly what Sam Williams did despite playing less than a quarter of the defensive snaps against the Lions   

On a day where the Cowboys shared the wealth around with four different players recording a sack, Williams helped himself not only to his first ever career sack but followed it up with the smoothest strip sack and fumble recovery you will ever see, which effectively sealed the game for Dallas. After beating Penei Sewell around the edge, Williams seemed to literally take the ball out of Jared Goff’s hands before he even realised it was gone. 

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Jaquan Brisker, Safety – Chicago Bears  

Coming into Monday night’s game against the New England Patriots, few thought that the Chicago Bears’ defence would have much luck against the returning Mac Jones (and later Bailey Zappe), but that could not have been further from the truth, and two of the reasons why were Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon. 

The former Penn State man, Brisker, gets the nod here due in part to there being two parts to his incredible interception of Jones that had a slight air of revenge about it. Early in the second quarter, Jones took off on a run, and as he slid down, he curiously raised his foot, which connected with Brisker in a certain sensitive area. Brisker’s revenge was swift and sweet, however, as mere minutes later he recorded his first career interception with a stunning one-handed grab that showed both his athleticism and anticipation skills. 

Honorable Mentions

Sauce Gardner (New York Jets), Coby Bryant (Seattle Seahawks), Aiden Hutchinson (Detroit Lions), Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints), Dameon Pierce (Houston Texans)

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Week 6: Rookie Standouts

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With this week marking the beginning of the bye weeks ruining many a fantasy football lineup, the NFL landscape remained unchanged as the low and close-scoring games continued. In week 6, these were the rookies that stood out.

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Bailey Zappe, Quarterback – New England Patriots

Bailey Zappe might well be starting to cause Bill Belichick a headache. In his two starts thus far for the Patriots, the 23-year-old rookie has looked impressive, which could put Mac Jones under pressure to ensure he performs when he returns from injury.

Zappe had a great day on Sunday, demonstrating his ability to go through his reads promptly and show good poise in the pocket, but most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. Although the young quarterback didn’t have a perfect day, he did become the first rookie in the Super Bowl era to win and record a QB rating of over 100 in each of his first two starts after finishing with 24 completions from 34 attempts for 309 yards and two touchdowns and an impressive 118.4 passer rating. It’ll be interesting to see who suits up next Monday against the Bears.

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Kayvon Thibodeaux, Edge – New York Giants

After missing out on the Giants’ first two games of the season, Thibodeaux has started to increase the pressure on opposing quarterbacks as his snap count has increased, and after multiple close calls last week against reigning MVP Aaron Rogers, this was the game where he was finally rewarded, and ironically, it’s the quarterback he revealed on Reddit in the preseason he most wanted to sack.

With the Giants having just taken the lead, the expectation was that Lamar Jackson would get one more drive to prevent the Ravens from blowing another 4th quarter lead, but Kayvon had other ideas. After blowing past tackle Patrick Mekari, he batted the ball out of Jackson’s hand to record his first sack and forced fumble. It meant a lot to the former duck, as shown by his emotional post-game video.

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Tariq Woolen, Cornerback – Seattle Seahawks

After making it into the honourable mentions list last week, it only felt right that Woolen made it onto this week’s, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the defensive rookie of the year conversations started. Fifth-rounder selections are normally a work in progress for a few seasons, and he was even labelled as a project pick, but Woolen is bucking that trend with dominant performances.

In this week’s outing against the Arizona Cardinals, he had five tackles, one stop, allowed four receptions on seven targets, snagged his fourth interception in his fourth straight game, and is now tied for the NFL lead with the Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Poyer. He also recovered a fumble after fellow rookie (and honourable mention) Coby Bryant stripped a scrambling Kyler Murray of the football in the redzone. Are we starting to see the emergence of a legion of boom 2.0? Time will tell.

Honourable Mentions

Sauce Gardner and Breece Hall (both New York Jets), Coby Bryant (Seattle Seahawks), Daniel Bellinger (New York Giants), and Arnold Ebiketie (Atlanta Falcons)

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Week 5: Rookie Standouts

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As we now move into the second quarter of the season, we’re starting to see some rookies start to cement their place in the standings for Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year. In week 5, these were the rookies that stood out.

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Dameon Pierce, Running Back – Houston Texans

My first returning player to these rankings, and he’s done it back to back! After last week’s amazing effort against the Los Angeles Chargers, Pierce took a deserved spot on this list despite being on the losing side. This time, however, he drove the Texans to their first win of the season after a low-scoring close affair against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Not only did Pierce punch in the go-ahead touchdown that gave the Texans their first win of the season, but he also had 3 receptions for 16 yards and 26 carries for 99 yards. These are not amazing numbers if you just look at the basic stats, but when you take into account that 97 of those yards were after contact, it’s just ridiculous. In fact, just watch this angry run below.

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Sauce Gardner, Cornerback – New York Jets

Sauce has been unlucky to not appear in these rankings yet, but there was no way I could ignore him as he helped the Jets defence dominate the Miami Dolphins from their very first play from scrimmage.

Teddy Bridgewater, who was playing in the place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa, lined up to take his first snap of the game and an unblocked Sauce unloaded on him, driving him to the dirt and forcing an intentional grounding penalty and subsequent safety as Bridgewater threw the ball in the endzone.

Sauce finished the game with 5 tackles, 1 pass defended, and his first career interception. He also finished with an allowed passer rating of 34.2, which is worse than if the Dolphins QB had just spiked it every play.

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Breece Hall, Running Back – New York Jets

So not only do I have my first returning player, but I also have two players from the same team for the first time this year. If Sauce helped the Jets dominate the Dolphins defensively, then Hall was the standout on offence as he displayed why he could be the next dual-threat running back weapon.

In what can be considered his breakout game, Hall had a monstrous day, picking up an incredible 100 yards on a measly 2 receptions, as well as having 18 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, his first in the NFL. The twenty-one-year-old Hall, who was drafted in the second round by the Jets, is now leading all rookies in scrimmage yards and is on the verge of breaking into the top ten among all NFL players.

Honorable Mentions

For the first time this season, I wanted to give a couple of honorable mentions to a trio of cornerbacks who just missed out on a spot. Those are Tariq Woolen (Seattle Seahawks), Jack Jones (New England Patriots), and Derek Stingley (Houston Texans).

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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!

Follow me on Twitter @SaintsReportUK, for much more Saints content and discussion.

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Week Five- Saints Vs Seahawks Preview 

If a game in week five is a must-win it’s usually because things are not going well. That’s definitely the case for the 2022-2023 New Orleans Saints. This is a must-win game Vs the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s see how the Saints stack up.

The Saints chose not to have their bye week as usual after a London game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a post-London hangover with all the travel and time changes. The Sants have got to prove the organisation was right to make that choice this week and not let that be the reason for another week of sloppy play, ending in a loss.

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Saints Offense Vs Seahawks Defense

This has to be a get-right game for the again Andy Dalton-led Saints offense. Last week was a good start for Dalton and the offense, in their attempt to right the offensive ship. However, they were still plagued by a very slow start on offense, turnovers, fumbles especially and penalties.

The first 6 drives of the game for the Saints; Three of those drives were three-play, three-and-out drives. One was a 60-yard touchdown after the Tyrann Mathieu interception, the last play before the half was a one-play drive where Dalton lost a fumble.

The Saints went three and out again to start the second half before going. Touchdown, touchdown, field goal and missed field goal to end the game. The second half showed promise, but they can’t keep getting off to such slow starts, this team has barely played with a lead all season. This team is not built to win from behind.

This week on paper looks to be a good matchup for the New Orleans offense.

In the picture above are Seattle’s top seven players in terms of coverage snaps (Picture from PFF). Four of those seven players have allowed a 130+ passer rating when targeted (NFL column). Specifically, I want to highlight Jordyn Brooks (PR 149.0) and Coby Bryant (136.9). 

Brooks struggled against Alvin Kamara last season, (four receptions for 49 yards and 2 first downs) given up against Kamara in coverage last season (per PFF) this should be a matchup the Saints target again, with Kamara set to return this week.

Bryant has been manning the slot since regular starter Justin Coleman got injured in Week One and he’s struggled. Whilst in coverage he’s allowing 71.4% of the passes thrown his way to be completed and those receptions on average go for 17.3 yards per catch. He also hasn’t forced any incompletions whilst in coverage so far this year.

This should be an advantageous matchup for Jarvis Landry; the Saints’ main slot receiver. This seems like a good game to put Olave and/or Harty in the slot for some slot plays to try and take advantage. 

Seattle could have Coleman back, he’s been out with a calf injury but there’s no guarantee that he immediately be pushed back into the starting line-up, we saw this with starting CB Paulson Adebo in his first game back from his ankle injury.

Rookie CB, Tariq Woolen has impressed in the Seattle secondary as has Saints rookie WR Chris Olave. This is a matchup I’m fascinated to watch on Sunday. More on that here (Analysing Three Key Matchups For The Saints In Week Five Vs Seattle – Full10Yards)

Per Pro-Football-Reference (PFR) Seattle’s defense on average is giving up 8.2 yards per pass play. This ranks dead last in the league in this metric.

 2022 Seattle Seahawks Rosters, Stats, Schedule, Team Draftees, Injury Reports |

Also, per PFR Seattle’s defense is giving up 5.1 yards-per-carry which ranks as the fourth worst in the NFL. This is another sign of hope for the Saints’ offense. It’s clear that New Orleans wants to establish the run and the offense has looked its best when they’ve been able to run the ball, especially on early downs. With Kamara back, Ingram not on the injury report and Taysom seeming to be back to full health. This should be a good matchup for them to dominate on the ground.

The Saints’ o-line should be able to hold up well against the Seattle pass rush. They had a very solid game last week against a stronger rush. Although Minnesota only blitzed Dalton six times last week, which is surprising considering the Saints’ issues against the blitz, expect that to be tested early this week.

Saints Defense Vs Seahawks Offense 

At the start of the season, I would have said this was one of the easiest matchups for the Saints’ defense. After four weeks of the NFL season that isn’t the case.

Geno Smith has been great, he’s played exactly how the Saints would have wanted their QBs to play so far. 

He’s been efficient completing a league-best 77.3% of his passes. With only two turnovers (two interceptions) he’s playing a perfect point guard role at QB distributing the ball to his playmakers with minimal fuss.

Expect star WR D.K Metcalf to be matched up with Saints star CB Marshon Lattimore for most of the day, this is always a blockbuster matchup and one the Saints need to win, more on that here (Analysing Three Key Matchups For The Saints In Week Five Vs Seattle – Full10Yards).

Despite Metcalf’s star power, he’s not the Seahawks leading WR so far this season. That title goes to Tyler Lockett, who has more catches and yards so far this season. He plays 44.9% of his snaps in the slot. This means Bradly Roby will be under a microscope in this matchup, the Saints could even shade some help his way.

Seattle also possesses one of the league’s most potent ground games. Rashaad Penny, who once looked like a first-round bust. Now looks like one of the most explosive runners in the league.

Per PFF, he averages 4.57 rushing yards after contact per rush, which leads all RBs in the NFL. He’s also averaging six yards-per-carry (YPC) so far this season after an incredibly impressive, 17 carry 157-yard performance last week @ Detroit.

The Saints’ defense needs to show up against the run like it did last week when it bottled up another elite RB (Dalvin Cook) for 3.6 YPC on 20 attempts. 

The final piece to the puzzle for the New Orleans defense? Putting Geno under pressure. When under pressure Smith’s PFF passing grade is 62.0, compared to 87.3 when not under pressure. They need big games from Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport Vs two rookie tackles. More on that matchup here- Analysing Three Key Matchups For The Saints In Week Five Vs Seattle – Full10Yards

State Of The Rosters


The Saints will be without QB1 and WR1 again this week as Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas are both OUT for this weekend.

On the plus side, the Saints will have star RB Alvin Kamara, starting safety Marcus Maye and starting LG back for this game.


Fairly clean bill of health for Seattle. There was a scare earlier in the week when star RB Rashaad Penny didn’t practice, he practised fully since then.

The Main miss for Seattle is last week’s starting EDGE Darrell Johnson is OUT after being put on injured reserve with an ankle injury. This will give Seattle a chance to give second-round rookie Boye Mafe an extended look in Taylor’s absence.

For more information on the injuries click here-

Score Prediction 

If the Saints offense doesn’t get back firmly on the tracks this week then honestly, I don’t expect them to and this has to be the week for an Alvin Kamara game.

Unless the pass rush goes ballistic (which it could) then I think Seattle will still score points. 

The Saints win 31-24 with a late Seattle touchdown bringing the score closer.

For more Saints articles New Orleans Saints – Full10Yards 

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Analysing Three Key Matchups For The Saints In Week Five Vs Seattle

In what is now a must-win game for the New Orleans Saints, there are three key matchups I think the Saints need to win on Sunday, to get back to 2-3 and bring their season back from the brink.

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Marshon Lattimore vs D.K. Metcalf

This was always going to be a blockbuster matchup. After last week there’s now a lot more of a spotlight on the Saints’ CB.

Lattimore has made a name for himself by shadowing the other team’s number 1 WR. For the most part, he’s done that very well. Traditionally he’s fared worse against the smaller more shift WRs (Stefon Diggs, Antonio Brown etc..) and excelled against the bigger-bodied WRs (Mike Evans, Davante Adams etc..).

Metcalf definitely falls within the bigger-bodied WR category. Therefore, this matchup should be in Lattimore’s wheelhouse.  

There is a pause for concern from the Saints’ side. Lattimore did not have his best game against Justin Jefferson and gave up a huge play at the end of the game which led to the Vikings’ game-clinching field goal.

On paper, the last meeting between the Saints’ star CB and Seahawks’ star WR also, should make you pause. In week Seven of last season, the Saints squared off with Seattle @ Lumen Field.  Metcalf’s final figures against Lattimore? Two receptions of 3 targets for 96 yards and a TD.

Context is required here, 84 of those yards came on one play. A play which could have been called OPI (I think it was right it wasn’t called but it was close). This play happened early in the first quarter, from then on Lattimore locked him down only allowing one reception from two targets for 12 yards.

The final nugget that makes this battle a must-watch? Shenanigans after the whistle. Last season Metcalf played the role the ‘Sean Avery’ role to perfection (if you get this reference then respect!) he wound Marshon up at every convivence, with shoves and shots. Once Lattimore retaliated that flags were thrown (flags are always thrown on the second guy, especially if they play the Saints).

Lattimore has already been thrown out of a game this season (wrongly) for unnecessary roughness. That cant happen again, the Saints need their lockdown CB on the field and Lattimore needs to try as best he can to keep his head as I’m sure Metcalf will test him early with some stuff after the whistle.


Chris Olave Vs Tariq Woolen

It’s looking unlikely that Michael Thomas will not play again this week. Jarvis Landry has struggled to get involved in the offense since his Week One heroics and sustaining a foot injury in Week Three.

That leaves rookie standout Chris Olave as the Saints’ main target at WR.  Olave leads all rookie WRs in receiving yards (335) and receptions (21) Olave’s 335 receiving yards are also the eighth most in the entire NFL.

Seattle has their own impressive rookie, Tariq Woolen. His story is slightly different to Olave’s. A converted WR now 6’ 4” 205 lbs CB who ran a 4.26 40-yard dash at the combine. An athletic freak might not give his athletic profile enough credit.

He entered the NFL as a raw prospect with need or refinement after being drafted in the fifth round last May. 

Well, he’s transitioned well into the NFL, he’s tied for first in the NFL with two interceptions and is only allowing a 40.4 passer rating when targeted. 

 It doesn’t appear that Seattle uses him to match up against the team’s best WR, its rare for a rookie to do this and traditionally how Seattle likes to play defense under Pete Carrol, even when Richard Sherman was at his height on the Legion of Boom defences, he didn’t always travel. Seattle generally prefers to put their CBs on respective sides of the field and keep them there. 

However no doubt they will match up plenty and despite the good, I’ve highlighted above about Woolen’s play it does look like a matchup the Saints can still attack. Woolen has given up nine receptions for 138 yards so far, so when he does give up a catch it can be for big yardage, he’s also committed five penalties so far this season of those penalties, two have been defensive pass interference and two have been defensive holding.

With Olave’s silky route-running ability this could be a matchup, the Saints choose to attack. If they choose to they had better be careful and any sniff of a wayward pass, Woolen’s ball skills have already shown he will have no problem picking it off.

Cameron Jordan And Marcus Davenport Vs Seahawks Rookie Tackles 

Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport had their best game of the season so far this week in London. They had ten total pressures including a shared sack, three other QB hits and multiple throwaways due to their pressure. This week they get an enticing matchup against two rookie tackles.

Charles Cross (the ninth overall pick from this year’s draft) is starting at LT for Seattle. With the 72nd overall pick Abraham Lucas starting at RT. Lucas has yet to allow a sack in four starts, he has allowed nine total pressures (six hurries and three QB hits per PFF). Cross on the other hand has given up three sacks and 6 further pressures. 

Seattle has played two teams that you would classify as having elite pass rushes (Broncos and 49ers).  Lucas held up well in pass protection in both games, and Cross held up well against the 49ers but struggled against Denver (two sacks and two hurries). Lucas held up fairly well overall.

Seahawks QB Geno Smith has been one of the surprises of the season. Keeping him under pressure is imperative to the Saints’ success. Being dominant on the edge is the path to that. As the interior d-line has not been producing so far this season from a pass rush perspective (having camp stand-out Malcolm Roach back could help this area). 

The Saints need to give the rookie tackles a ‘welcome to the NFL’ game and if Jordan and Davenport play how they did in Week Four again this week, then I think they will achieve that.

For more Saints articles New Orleans Saints – Full10Yards I will have a full preview on Sunday’s game up on there on Saturday.

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Rookie Roundup: Minicamp and OTA’s

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It seems like an age has passed since the end of minicamp, but the light at the end of the tunnel is finally in sight. July 18th sees the rookies from the Buffalo Bills and the Las Vegas Raiders as the first players to report for preseason training camp, with all players, both rookies and veterans, reporting by July 26th.All rookies will need to maximise the opportunities they are given this preseason, with rosters needing to be trimmed from 90 players at the beginning of camp down to the final 53 on the 30th of August.

As always, there will be a selection of rookies that had starting jobs from the moment their names were announced on draft day. However, there will be a few on the cusp of a starting role or trying to work their way onto the first team depth chart.

Let’s look at six rookies who, after their showings at OTA’s and minicamps in May and June, may have already started to force their way into contention.

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Christian Watson, WR, Green Bay Packers (Round 2, Pick 2)

Wide receivers are frequently overlooked by the Green Bay Packers in the first two rounds. In fact, Watson was the first they have taken since Devante Adams, the man he could potentially have been drafted to replace. He hasn’t shown any signs of the pressure getting to him, however, as he quickly built a connection with the current MVP, Aaron Rogers, by catching a deep ball during their first practise together, before continuing his trial by fire by lining up opposite Pro Bowler Jaire Alexander. It’s a promising start that, should it continue during training camp and preseason, could result in a starting position.

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Boye Mafe, EDGE, Seattle Seahawks (Round 2, Pick 8)

Mafe looks like he will be continuing the upward trajectory his career has taken so far. After starting at Minnesota with limited opportunities, he ended his collegiate tenure with an outstanding performance in the Senior Bowl in which he had three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, one of which included forcing a fumble. Mafe has picked up where he left off and is already starting to catch the eyes of the Seahawks coaching staff, including Coach Carroll, who said, “He’s really talented. He’s the closest looking fit to Cliff Avril that we’ve seen. ” High praise indeed, being compared to the ex-Superbowl champion and Pro Bowler, and all this before he has put on the pads yet.

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George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (Round 2, Pick 20)

With Pickens only being able to play 4 games in his final season at college due to an ACL injury and given that multiple teams were apparently turned off by stories questioning his maturity and lack of discipline prior to the draft, it wouldn’t have surprised anyone if Pickens entered OTAs with a chip on his shoulder. Instead, he put his head down and got to work, making sure he could line up wherever the Steelers wanted him, something he did constantly during his tenure with the Bulldogs. It didn’t take long for him to show the Steelers coaching staff what he could do, making a spectacular bobbled catch on a pass that would have likely been too high for most receivers.

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Nakobe Dean, LB, Philadelphia Eagles (Round 3, Pick 19)

In what could end up being the steal of the draft, the Eagles were able to pick up the free-falling Dean after concerns regarding injuries and his perceived undersized body. Dean has immediately shown off both his versatility and football IQ by learning both the MIKE and WILL positions to ensure that he can contribute straight away. There has even been chatter amongst the local reporters that the rookie will end up wearing the green dot on his helmet, taking up the responsibility of communicating with the coaches and replaying the plays, which would also suggest he will be spending a lot of time on the field.

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Daniel Bellinger, TE, New York Giants (Round 4, Pick 7)

It is very rare to see a midround pick spend extended time with the starters, but that is exactly what has happened to Bellinger, and by all accounts, he has grasped his opportunity with both hands (pun intended). After being used as more of an extra offensive lineman at San Diego State and with the Giants’ signing veterans Seals-Jones and Akins in the offseason, it appeared that Bellinger would have to battle just to get a depth spot. However, he immediately impressed tight end coach Andy Bischoff. “He’s one of those rare guys today that can really do it all. He can block, he can protect, and what we want him to do is get open against man coverage. He can do all those things.”

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Isaiah Likely, TE, Baltimore Ravens (Round 4, Pick 34)

Standing out amongst a class of 11 rookies was always going to be a tall task, but that is exactly what the fourth-round tight end has done. Likely was the second tight end the Ravens drafted on day three and was taken only 11 picks after Charlie Kolar, but he seems to have separated himself from the pack by displaying his large catch radius and ability to get open. In the last minicamp session, Likely caught multiple touchdowns in red zone drills, but one, an incredible one-handed touchdown, caught the eye of Lamar Jackson, who remarked, “It was a tremendous catch, so the sky’s the limit.”