The battle for the New Orleans Saints‘ No. 3 wide receiver spot doesn’t appear to have been won just yet.
In their second preseason victory over the Oakland Raiders the Saints definitely spread the wealth around in the receiving game. 12 different receivers caught passes during the game on 13 different targets. Veteran Patrick Crayton, who was signed by New Orleans earlier in the week, caught one pass for 31 yards on one target. Fellow veteran receiver Steve Breaston caught one pass for four yards while being targeted twice.
Perhaps the more interesting battle is that between rookie Kenny Stills and second year man Nick Toon. Stills made a very nice looking catch in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown on a 16-yard pass where Drew Brees literally had about a dozen seconds to move around in the pocket and find a receiver. Toon, on the previous possession, made a nice grab on a 56-yard pass from Brees that would set up a two yard touchdown run by Mark Ingram.
All in all, I’m not sure anybody really knows who is going to be the Saints’ No. 3 receiver come the beginning of the regular season. Each player in contention brings something to the table. In fact, we might see New Orleans use a rotation approach to meet each situational requirement.
Stills might be called on to stretch the field with his speed while Toon may come onto the field when another big-bodied receiver is prudent. Toon has also shown that he might be a tad bit faster than originally thought. Breaston and Crayton, if one or both make the roster cut, may be called on to provide veteran leadership to younger players when the situation demands it.
The truth is that we just don’t know.
Keep this in mind when the Saints travel to Houston this coming week to take on the Houston Texans in a nationally televised game. This game will likely be the preseason game to most resemble an actual regular season game, so it would be wise to pay attention.