Before we get into my observations from the team’s first preseason game of the 2017 season I wanted to highlight the single most important stat of the night: the Saints continued their preseason losing streak and are now up to 10 games. Rumor has it Sean Payton admires Bill Bellichek so much he wants to mimic his legendary 16-0 season, but with a signature Saints twist doing it with consecutive losses in the preseason.
Obviously I’m kidding…the streak doesn’t really matter. In fact, nothing from this game ‘matters’. The preseason is 4 games long, there are several more weeks of the offseason and while everything will be looked at, reviewed, and weighed in determining the final 53, nothing from the preseason games is as good, or as bad as you think it is (except for Garret Grayson).
Here are the observations from tonight’s preseason game:
- Alvin Kamara is going to take every form of Saints preseason hype and drive it to legendary proportions. He looked REALLY good in his first action, and the best part was that he wasn’t even used as a receiver, it was his ability to run between the tackles that showed up the most. Kamara being able to be a legit threat out of the backfield both running and catching is arguably the most important part of adding him.
- Tommy Lee Lewis is doing his best to try to defy the odds. Lewis made the team last year as a gadget play specialist (things like reverses, end arounds, etc) and return man. Alvin Kamara and Ted Ginn Jr make him absolutely totally outclassed in both regards. That means his only path on the roster is likely as a pure wide receiver. Lewis may or may not make the final 53, but if tonight’s game is any indication that will NOT be because he didn’t try hard enough. Lewis was dynamic, consistent, and effective all game long.
- PJ Williams looked solid all night long, showed good coverage, and was very effective in run support. Let’s hope he can stay healthy, the Saints need him.
- Ken Crawley had the opposite experience. Crawley was very up and down today. He had moments where he looked good and had a couple of penalties called (one of which I disagreed with), but also got burnt by veteran Kenny Britt and looked a step slow or behind throughout the game. Nothing is decided yet, but it wasn’t a good look for him.
- I managed to make it this far without mentioning our favorite ‘happy’ Hawaiian Hau’oli Kikaha. Kikaha spent a lot of time in backfield during his snaps. It has to be mentioned that he was facing a back up left tackle, but regardless of who he was going against Kikaha terrorized his opponent while he was in the game. Having multiple pressures throughout the game and drawing a holding call on a near sack (and he should have gotten a couple more penalties called in his favor), Kikaha flashed some of the ability that got him drafted in the 2nd round. After his 3rd ACL tear on the same knee we have to be cautious with our optimism, but its way too early to count him out yet.
- David Onyemata flashed, and had several plays where either his power, or his speed and agility stood out. On one play in particular he sniffed out a screen, chased down a running back, and blasted him out of hid air to force a fumble. More of that please.
- Brandon Coleman flashed a few times, he wasn’t great, but he was solid and produced. That’s what I’d expect considering the QB situation.
- yea…lets talk about that. Garret Grayson is done in New Orleans. When the blocking was perfect he was fine, but under absolutely ANY duress whatsoever Grayson was absolutely awful.
- Ryan Nassib was Grayson’s opposite. He played with poise, control, touch, and guts. As far as I’m concerned he just played his way into kicking Grayson off this team.
- Muhhamed showed some real flashes of his potential as a pass rusher…he’s intriguing.
- Final observation: Travaris Cadet and Damian Swann have very little time to show tremendous improvement. Daniel Lasco and Devante Harris are going to push them off the roster if tonight’s performance repeats itself.