Aug 13, 2010

Saints Kickoff Preseason

The Saints kickoffed their preseason schedule last night at New England and fell 27-24 to the Patriots. There were highs and lows for the Black and Gold and definitely lots of areas to improve.

But that's what the preseason is for. There's a reason the season doesn't start in December. Here's a look at what stood out to me based on the first preseason game:

  • The starters put together a 10 minute, 20 play scoring drive, but it didn't happen until their 3rd possession. This forced the starters like Drew Brees and Reggie Bush to play a little more than Sean Payton anticipated. Hopefully, this doesn't go back to the old trend of the Saints being slow starters.
  • Garrett Hartley did a solid job filling in for Thomas Morestead when the punter hurt his shoulder, but you don't want your starting kicker to have to kick FG/PATs, kickoff and have to punt. That's a lot of work for one guy's leg. If Morestead missing some time, look for the Saints to bring in another punter as a camp body.
  • Besides Morestead, the Saints seemed to have come out of the game relatively healthy.
  • Larry Beavers is making some noise for a roster spot. His kickoff return for a touchdown in the second half will make the coaches notice him more, but his bobbled return later won't. He's got an uphill battle, but being a good returner in the preseason last year helped Rod Harper make the team.
  • The Saints will probably be OK at running back, even with Lynell Hamilton's injury. P.J. Hill and Chris Ivory looked solid, and I'd like to see more from them in the next few weeks.
  • Tackling and coverage (special teams and in the secondary) was poor. This is the first game and there wasn't much, if any, scheming taking place, so coverage isn't as big a deal as the poor tackling on defense. The special team coverage left a lot to be desired.
All in all, not great, but not terrible either. The guys fighting for a roster spot (like Adrian Arrington and DeMario Pressly) made some plays but overall, the team has work to do. I think a game like this is exactly what Sean Payton wants at this time. Sure, these are the Super Bowl champs, but he can point out a lot of things that need work. I hope to see some improvements by next week's game against the Houston Texans.

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