The Saints are one of just three teams left undefeated in preseason, not that that means anything at all, but they'll have a chance to play for the perfect meaningless record on Thursday at Miami thanks to today's win over Houston. Overall it was a very up and down game with many positives and of course some negatives as well. Some of the happenings made roster decisions pretty easy, while others confused the issue significantly. But that's a good problem to have, and the Saints have a number of young players playing good football. Young talent and good depth are things to be excited about going into the season. Here are my thoughts on the game:
I have to give kudos to Garrett Hartley. He drilled a 51 yarder perfectly right down the middle and has been perfect all preseason with his kicking. He gets some criticism from fans and seems to get little love from his teammates, but the guy has been rock solid. I feel good about kicker.
Andy Tanner played extremely well and finished with two touchdowns. He also looked decent on special teams. He boosted his chances of making the team, without question. But so did Preston Parker. Not sure where that leaves them. I don't really see how you can justify cutting either.
Luke McCown was outstanding. He had excellent command of the offense and ran the 2 minute drill better than Brees could have. I think we should all feel good that the Saints have a very capable backup. To me he looks much better than Chase Daniel ever did.
Ryan Griffin was pretty solid in his own right, too. He's got a place locked up on the practice squad.
Eric Olsen started in place of Jahri Evans and was a disaster in pass protection. When he moved to center in the second half he seemed to do better. Tim Lelito came in for Olsen after he gave up an easy sack, and Lelito seemed to do ok. It makes me wonder what the team's vision is for backup linemen. The depth at o-line doesn't feel too strong to me.
Kenny Stills looked great, once again. I'll admit it, he's much better than I expected. We all know he has speed, but he's also shown good route running ability, hands and some blocking to boot. He's the #3 receiver as far as I'm concerned.
Nick Toon was a little up and down. He seems like he needs to polish up his game a bit more for the offense to trust him with more reps.
Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson both seemed to do well, so they remain in a dead heat.
Austin Johnson is so so as a blocker, but he has decent speed and really good hands. He's also got some special teams ability. I'm curious if Johnson has a shot at making the team instead of a third tight end? Especially since Michael Higgins has shown close to nothing this preseason.
Glenn Foster had a sack. Again. Sean Payton after the game said he's playing for playing time during the season, not a roster spot. Very impressive camp from the undrafted rookie.
Kenny Vaccaro laid the wood and was active. Also a positive.
The defense didn't play that well, particularly the pass defense. The pass rush wasn't much better. Keenan Lewis had a rough time covering Andre Johnson and was exposed repeatedly.
I was not impressed with Matt Schaub. I feel like there were numerous wide open receivers where he missed throwing a perfect ball and it cost his team first downs and therefore points. The Saints were fortunate because I feel like if he had played better, the Saints would've been down by a couple scores at halftime.
Ramon Humber and Kevin Reddick showed some nice things in the middle, again, particularly Humber who came up with a 4th and goal tackle at the 1. David Hawthorne made a nice play, too.
This defense took a step back and I still think they'll be improved this year, but I still fail to see any playmaking ability anywhere on the unit. So many times they come up just short of making a big play. I'm hoping the return of Junior Galette and Martez Wilson could change that but I doubt it.
Pierre Thomas' touchdown was just vintage PT cruiser stuff. I love that guy.
Jim Leonhard made a case for making the team with a great open field special teams tackle. IAQ looked good in limited play on defense, so maybe his fate isn't sealed yet, but I think Leonhard's tackle on special teams is the kind of thing that makes a difference.
The Saints gave up 141 yards rushing on 27 carries, so we'll have to suspend the praise we've been giving the run defense for a bit.
Corey White seemed to play ahead of Chris Carr most of the game, which is surprising considering Carr's good showing early in camp. Carr did play well late.
The Saints are going for 4-0 on Thursday. One more worthless game and the season is upon us!