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Saints drop preseason finale 22-13 to Ravens

The Saints played very few key players, but that didn’t stop Robert Meachem, Champ Bailey and Parys Haralson from all getting banged up. As far as I could tell it doesn’t seem like it will jeopardize their ability to play in Atlanta, as Haralson and Meachem both returned, and Bailey seemed to dislocate a finger. Comically the Saints had one penalty in this game, it was by far the cleanest game they played in the preseason, and it was the only one they lost. The crowd was very tame and quiet, though the Saints didn’t give the fans much to shout about. There were A LOT of empty seats for the “sold out” game. Here are my notes below:

  • Luke McCown played two series, went 4-4 and directed the offense’s lone touchdown. This, combined with him holding the entirety of kicks pretty much ensures he will be Drew Brees’ backup this season. After the first couple of preseason games that was in serious jeopardy, but I have to tip my cap to McCown for weathering a streaky period from Ryan Griffin to remain steady throughout. He is the deserving #2.
  • Ryan Griffin was poor. He did have some drops and his protection was up and down, but overall he has faded on these last two preseason games. He’s gone from the heir apparent to Brees to possibly being on the final cuts list. I still think the Saints keep three quarterbacks and hang onto Griffin because he clearly still has the potential, he’s developed well from his rookie season, and his deep ball sure is pretty.
  • Pierre Warren had an awesome interception. That guy may have locked up a roster spot with a terrific play over the top in the end zone on a deep ball.
  • Vinnie Sunseri played the entire game and had a very high volume of snaps on defense and special teams. He played pretty well and finished with 8 tackles.
  • Meachem got behind the defense and caught a 52 yard pass on an underthrown ball by Griffin. A better toss probably goes for a score. After Nick Toon was so hot earlier in camp, he’s really faded down the stretch. At this point I think Meachem is less at risk than Toon.
  • Patrick Robinson was burned a few times and looked very shaky. I think the #2 corner spot is a serious concern. Jean-Baptiste isn’t ready, Bailey can’t seem to string 12 snaps together without an injury, and P-Rob looked really poor in this game. Not a good sign for the spot opposite Keenan Lewis.
  • The Saints had two 40 yard kickoff returns. I almost fell out of my seat. One was from Travaris Cadet and one was from Charles Hawkins. Hawkins looks a bit more explosive, but not enough to merit a roster spot.
  • The Saints produced just 190 yards of offense and couldn’t get a first down to save their life in the second half.
  • Derek Dimke made both field goal attempts and an extra point. Shayne Graham was the second half kicker and never had an attempt. That has to be less than ideal for Sean Payton to decide on a kicker when Graham never got the chance to get some reps. Dimke missed a 53 yard field goal way wide right before hafltime, but was bailed out by a defender running into him. His retry from 48 tucked just inside the lower right upright good. At this point I think Dimke is your 2014 Saints kicker. I don’t feel great about that, but if I had to guess I just think the fact that he got all the reps in the 1st half means he’s the guy in the lead.
  • The Saints gave up 214 yards rushing. I’d be worried if the starters were in, but I won’t sweat that for now. Still, tackling and gap filling has to be better.
  • Tyrunn Walker batted down 3 passes. Preseason always brings out the beast in him.

That’s it for the preseason folks. Can’t wait for Atlanta in 10 days.