New Orleans Saints: What To Watch For In Week 2 Of Preseason
New Orleans Saints' Areas Of Interest Entering Week Two Of Preseason
Like the other 31 teams in the NFL right now, the New Orleans Saints training camp and preseason is a time to evaluate themselves, see what they have, see who they have and to see what they can do. Although the Saints clinched a victory in their first preseason game of the year, there is still much that needs to be worked on.
After a disappointing season last year, New Orleans will be looking to get back to their winning ways. Defense will obviously be an area of concern for Sean Payton and company, but Friday's first preseason game helped bring to mind some other areas that might need some more coaching, some more work or just more attention in general from Payton and his staff. Thankfully there are still three more preseason games to play and and training camp to work out the bugs and kinks to solidify their roster
There are players as well who need to step up their game and play at a higher level than they previously have. From offense to defense and special teams, everybody must be held accountable for the work they put in and how they work together as a team to help take New Orleans back to the playoffs. The disappointment from last year’s season must be avenged, and if anybody can deliver for New Orleans it is Sean Payton and his coaching staff. Payton had a year to study the league during his suspension, so look for him to come back and make a statement.
Here are five areas of concern and interest for the Saints as they enter week two of preseason.
Jack Cavanaugh is a New Orleans Saints contributing writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cav_jack, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.
Wide Receiver Roster Is Still A Mystery At No. 3 Spot
With wide receiver Joe Morgan suffering a season-ending ACL injury in training camp earlier this week, the opportunity for others to clinch the No. 3 spot on the wide receiver roster has never been better. Preston Parker hauled in two touchdowns catches in the Saints' first preseason game, but Kenny Stills highlighted his speed and ability to separate from defenders as well and Nick Toon was also fairly solid. Keep an eye on New Orleans' training camp this week to see if the picture at wide receiver becomes and clearer.
Rob Ryan Must Continue To Improve Saints Defense
Ryan's defense gave up an 80-yard, first possession touchdown to Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs Friday, but after that they were a bit stingy. They allowed only 215 offensive yards, limited Kansas City to 3-14 on third down conversions and even recovered a fumble. Look for Ryan and his defense to improve as the preseason goes on.
Will Drew Brees Shake Off Some Early Rust From Training Camp?
Early reports out of training camp spoke of Brees looking a bit rusty, missing throws he would normally make and under-throwing receivers at times. Brees went 7-of-10 for 65 yards and no touchdowns against the Chiefs in their preseason opener. While it was a bit disappointing not to see Brees take a drive all the way to the end zone, I'm sure that will change next week. Brees has been putting up consistently good numbers for several years now, so there's no reason to think he'll do anything but that this season.
It Is Time For Mark Ingram To Play Like The First Round Pick Team Hoped He Was
Coach Sean Payton has said numerous times this offseason that he wants to focus more on the running game in 2013. This is probably a good idea as Saints fans remember how dynamic their running game was during their 2009 Super Bowl run and the drop off that followed. It's essential that Mark Ingram finally step up in his third year and play like the first round draft pick New Orleans hoped he could be.
New Orleans' Special Teams Unit May Be A Cause For Concern
Perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of the Saints' preseason opener was the way their special teams played. New Orleans allowed two big returns on a punt and a kickoff and too many yards overall. Special teams coach Greg McMahon and Sean Payton need to figure this out before poor play begins to affect the scoreboard.