Aug 28, 2009

Preseason: Saints at Raiders

The Saints will play the Raiders this weekend in their week 3 preseason game. Week 3 is the most important game of the preseason, as the starters play more than a half to get acclimated to coming out of the locker room and starting the 2nd half.

There will be lots to watch this weekend:
  1. Starters: As I mentioned, the starters on both sides of the ball will get more playing time this week. Drew Brees and company will play into the 3rd quarter so watch to see if they're in rhythym and keep it going for almost three quarters.
  2. Robert Meachem, kick returner: The battle for the last receiver spots has been heating up in camp. A major way that the 4th and 5th WRs contribute is in special teams, so the Saints are taking a look at Meachem as a returner. This will solve a couple of issues, one he'll contribute both on offense and special teams and two, they won't have to carry an extra kick returner, who's only job is returning. Leading to...
  3. WR Battle: As I mentioned, the 5th WR spot is up for grabs with guys like Adrian Arrington, Skyler Green, Courtney Roby and Rod Harper competiting. Harper helped his case with a punt return touchdown, but with Reggie Bush and Lance Moore already doing a good job on punt returns, Harper likely won't get that job. Arrington seems to be the favorite, as the staff drafted him and hung onto him as he recovered from injuries last year. Green and Roby are competiting as mainly returners and will now have Meachem to compete against.
  4. Running Back: Pierre Thomas is dealing with an injury and won't play and Reggie Bush is questionable. This will give Mike Bell another opportunity to show that he's in the mix for playing time at running back. The younger backs will also get lots of looks with the starters being limited with injuries.
  5. Starting Punter: Thomas Morestead locked up the punting job this week when the Saints cut Glenn Pakulak. It's now up to Morestead to show the consitency that a starting NFL punter should have.
Watch Anthony Hargrove rush the passer, he's been one of the most impressive pass rushers in camp; the continued maturity of the young linebackers like Anthony Waters; the kicking battle between John Carney and Garrett Hartley; Jermon Bushrod starting at left tackle again; how Malcolm Jenkins comes back after giving up a TD pass in Houston; and the run defense going up against the Raiders' Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and Justin Fargas.

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