Aug 29, 2008

Saints Finish Preseason with 13-10 loss to Miami

The dress rehearsals are over and it's time to start looking toward Tampa Bay, the Saints Week 1 opponent. Last night, the Saints ended their preseason with a 13-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

The Saints were sloppy and only gained 99 total yards for the game, but considering that mostly 2nd and 3rd teamers and future free agents played, fans can't be too worried.

The main goal of the 4th preseason game is to solidify the roster and come away with no injuries. Here's a look at who helped themselves and who hurt their chances to make this team:

Made an impression:
Deuce McAllister - Deuce wasn't really in danger of being cut, but he finally showed flashes of his old self. He carried the ball 11 times for 30 yards and had trouble putting it in the end zone on his goal line carried, but overall, the coaching staff has to be pleased with his play.

Jason David - After the Texans game, David's time in New Orleans seemed to be drawing to an end, but last night he made plays all over the field. He showed that he can be a solid contribute on special teams (something that backup DBs need to be able to do) and he was even cheered by the SuperDome crowd after his interception of Chad Henne.

Martin Gramatica - I've been saying all along that Gramatica was the Saints most consistent kicker and he didn't disappoint last night. He remains perfect on his kicks since arriving in New Orleans last year.

Jo-Lonn Dunbar/William Kershaw - Both of the young linebackers saw plently of action and showed why they'll be tough to part with on Aug. 30. It will be hard for them to make the 53-man roster, but both have a shot at making the practice squad.

Hurt their chances:
Devery Henderson - Devery's still likely to make the team, but its still much of the same for him. His first half drop cost the Saints a first down and on his next catch, he bobbled the ball before securing it. Devery has all the speed you look for in a deep threat, but until he consistently holds onto the ball, he can't be counted on.

Tyler Palko - After almost two years in Coach Payton's system, Palko is not showing the improvement that you'd like to see from a young quarterback. He finished the game 4/14 for 36 yards and was under constant pressure. With young QBs like John Beck and Chris Simms likely to be available, the Saints may want to cut ties with Palko.

Backup Offensive Line - One of the reasons Palko struggled was the play of the offensive line. The Dolphins got constant pressure on the QB and the offense couldn't get into rhythm. The offensive line made former Saint Rob Ninkovich look like Jason Taylor.

Taylor Mehlhaff - Mehlhaff became the first Saints kicker to miss a field goal this preseason when he pushed a 40-yarder to the left. His kickoffs were a little better, but he still had one that only went to the 10-yard line. He does get good hang time on his kicks, allowing the coverage team to get downfield. If the Saints go with two QBs on the 53-man roster, then Mehlhaff still has a shot to make the team as the kickoff specialist.

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