Questions Abound In Saints vs. Chiefs Matchup
By Greg Barber
Saints fans, you wanted football and now you got it with Friday night's preseason action between the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs! This will be the first glance at the 2013 Saints and a chance to gauge their progress thus far.
A few key players like WR Marques Colston, RB Pierre Thomas and LB Junior Galette will be sitting out or playing sparingly in this game, which will be all about looking at the young talent fighting to make the team as opposed to a dress rehearsal for the starters.
Here are some areas of interest to follow in this game:
Switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 is usually a difficult task because both alignments require different players. It will be interesting to see how quickly this transition takes place with the players the Saints currently have.
Could the Saints be running into a situation like last season with Steve Spagnuolo's defense where it seemed like the defense needed a complete overhaul to fit his scheme?
Also look for who will be the new Jack/Joker linebacker. Will the Saints find the fire-breather needed to make the defense effective? There are a lot of potential players for that position and while we know who the favorites are, one has to wonder whether or not there be someone unexpected to come into the fold.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro will have lots of attention on him to see how well he plays and whether or not he has the ability to one day replace Roman Harper or Malcolm Jenkins in the secondary.
In the battles for the cornerback position, Keenan Lewis and Jabari Greer seem to have the starting positions locked down but because Patrick Robinson has been injured, it will be interesting to see where he fits in this defense. Corey White will see a lot of playing time and with the emergence of Rod Sweeting, A. J. Davis and Chris Carr, the secondary is getting extremely crowded. Who will break out of this crowd?
Of course with the defensive line, we must watch to see who gets penetration against the pass and who is strong against the run.
Left Tackle will be an area of concern for the Saints, but as long as Charles Brown can stay healthy, QB Drew Brees will be in good hands. Lack of ability or talent was never the concern for Brown, but rather whether or not he can stay healthy to play through the course of a season.
Who will replace WR Joe Morgan as the No. 3 wide receiver? Since his season-ending injury, rookie Kenny Stills has been taking his snaps. Do not count Nick Toon or Steve Breaston out yet either, even though they can't stretch the field like Morgan because head coach Sean Payton will find ways to get them the football.
Do not assume rookie QB Ryan Griffin will end up on the practice squad either - games like this can give him a real shot at proving his case for the backup quarterback spot.
This seems like a lot to watch (and it is) but in a game where you actually do not get to see the stars play much, looking for the future stars is a great way to make the preseason interesting.
Saints 27 Chiefs 20