Saints' Powerful Offense Gets A Toon Up
By Greg Barber
In Friday night's preseason contest against the Oakland Raiders, the New Orleans Saints played a stellar first half on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball in the team's 28-20 victory. Saints coach Sean Payton shined up his play calling skills, which showed when the first-team offense carved up the Oakland defense. Overall, there were a lot of positives that came out of Friday night, but there were a few areas of concern as well.
1. As stated earlier, the first-team offense played very well as QB Drew Brees was a surgeon on the field, throwing for 202 yards and a touchdown on five scoring drives. Wide receivers Kenny Stills and Nick Toon had good showings, and they definitely proved that they will fit in the Saints offense just fine.
2. RB Khiry Robinson showed that he has the talent it takes to make it in the NFL while playing with the second-team with his 10 rushes for 50 yards. His chance of making the team has increased thus far in the preseason, especially given the past injury history of the other running backs on the Saints roster. It just makes sense to keep a fifth running back moving forward.
3. The defense showed a few blitz packages and created a little confusion for the Raiders offense on its way to a total of seven sacks in the game. They really showed strong signs of improvement as a unit. LB Ramon Humber will be a much better fit in a 3-4 defense then he was in the 4-3 - he played very well and will probably make the roster as fellow LB Curtis Lofton's backup.
4. There will be huge decisions to make on who makes the roster on defense, especially in the secondary where there are some really close races. CB A. J. Davis was already cut Tuesday, leaving the door open for Rod Sweeting to earn a roster spot. Sweeting will be a great addition to the team and does nothing but make the secondary stronger. Another key decision that will have to be made centers around the safety position and the battle between Rafael Bush and Isa Abdul-Quddus.
1. Backup QB Seneca Wallace did himself no favors in Friday's game and it was no surprise that he was cut first thing Tuesday morning after that horrid performance. I am not saying that Luke McCown was any better under center the week before - as a matter of fact, he was rather unimpressive against Kansas City. This is why it makes more sense for the Saints to take their chances with rookie QB Ryan Griffin because if Brees goes down, the season would be down the tubes anyway.
2. Travaris Cadet is another player that did himself no favors Friday night either. Do not be surprised if Robinson beats him out for the fourth running back position.
From a realistic point of view, Saints fans have to remember that they beat the Oakland Raiders - the game this Sunday against the Houston Texans will give Payton much better insight on where this team really is. The first-team offense and defense will play for about a half, which will be a much better test for the Saints. Stay tuned to Football.com to see which three Saints players need to prove themselves against the Texans this weekend.
I always thought Seneca Wallace made a pretty good backup...maybe the Saints should have given him more of a chance.