New Orleans Saints had several highlights, lowlights, and notable performances in their preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
Preseason games typically are a collection of mistakes and blunders, which lead to position coaches watching the game film and working to correct the problems before the next matchup.
The initial reaction from Sean Payton was the most notable of any of the players after last night's 17-14 loss versus the Baltimore Ravens. Payton began his presser, addressing the six turnovers and ten penalties for 63 yards.
At the same token, Coach Payton pointed out that the mistakes were "not just [from] rookies," but veterans. Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman's fumbles. Hill and Winston threw interceptions. The false starts and offsides penalties. Missed defensive rush assignments. These are the few Payton addressed, and I noticed.
Conversely, there were a few game highlights, and unfortunately, five significant lowlights to detail on game performances.
- All three quarterbacks - Hill, Winston, and Book - demonstrated that the New Orleans offense was still productive through the air and ground without Brees under center. The offense had 366 total yards (272 passing and 94 rushing) on 61 offensive plays and two touchdowns.
- Juwan Johnson's conversion to tight end could be what he and the Saints both needed. The second-year player caught two bullets from Jameis Winston for 71 yards. Cudos.
- Marquez Callaway was targeted 4 times and caught 3 passes for 61 yards, his longest was 28 yards. Respectable numbers since he was in 20 offensive plays on the evening.
- The first-unit offensive line was stellar in the run phase and pass protection. The line play as a whole was solid through the contest but allowed 3 quarterback sacks. The regular season offensive starters Andrus Peat and Cesar Ruiz accounted for 20 snaps each; center Erik McCoy had 11 snaps. Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk did not play. C Will Clapp had the most playtime of any lineman and player against the Ravens with 49 snaps. Snaps from the other lineman were: T Throckmorton (43), T Greenridge (39), G Hurst (39), G Sweezy (35), T Young (24), T Murphy (13), G Kelly (11), and C Montano (11).
- The defensive line stood out early and contributed to holding the Ravens to 9 points in the first half. Sean Payton said DT Onyemata's 22 snaps were normal to keep him playing football even as he faces a six-game suspension at the start of the season.Sean Payton said Taysom Hill's errant pass to Ty Montgomery's resulted from miscommunication between the quarterback and receiver. "One's running a shallow cross, and one's expecting to set it down, bad by both of them, we're look at it on tape," said Payton.
- Sean Payton said Taysom Hill's errant pass to Ty Montgomery's resulted from miscommunication between the quarterback and receiver. "One's running a shallow cross, and one's expecting to set it down, bad by both of them, we're look at it on tape," said Payton.
- Jameis Winston's interception was a mixture of two elements. First, Winston's pass was underthrown, but the pass was catchable for Lil' Jordan Humphrey against Westry.
- Ball security issuses. The fumbles from the Saints running backs were extremely uncharacteristic and stopped offensive drives, possibly leading to points. Murray's error was atypical. He has fumbled once in 31 games and 292 rushes since arriving in New Orleans. Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Tony Jones, Jr. were all culprits on the evening.
- Rush defense in the second half was underwhelming.
- Secondary showed coverage lapses in the second half. Prince Amukamara gave up plays on the Ravens' go-ahead drive. ]
- DB Bryce Thompson's first interception.
- CB Paulson Adebo as a gunner on special teams! He had 9 ST snaps and 1 ST tackle.
- Tony Jones, Jr. made the most of his field time with a touchdown off of carries for 82 yards (longest 28 yards). However, the fumble was costly.
- LB Zack Baun had solid outing.
- QB Ian Book showed flashes and good mobility, but has to know he cannot outrun NFL defenders like in college.
- Defensive ends Tanoh Kpassagnon and Carl Granderson played well.
- P Blake Gillikin's 3 punts averaged 47.3 yards per punt for a total of 143 yards. His longest was 61 yards. New Orleans, he has a leg.
- Watch Easop Winston and Kawaan Baker.
Line Judge Maia Chaka became the first black woman to become an NFL official and participate in a game.