The preseason is upon us. It is a time of breakout performances, unrealistic expectations, surefire bottom of the roster ‘stars’, and even a few guys that make you wonder how they got there. I have given myself the unenviable duty of re-watching each preseason game and looking for the few bits and pieces that are actually relevant from these games. To a certain degree this year’s first pre-season game will be of a little more relevance than usual due to the combination of injuries to projected starters and also the sheer amount of talent on this team. Even the Saints positions of ‘weakness’ are two or three deep with players who are at the minimum able to play on an NFL field. Tonight’s game is to a certain degree a pointless endeavor, but there is still a lot of important data that the coaches will be able to garner from it, and if we pay attention we as fans should be able to weed through it and find some nuggets as well.
What then will I be focusing on?
How does the O-line look?
I want to get a look at how the makeshift line we are putting out there performs on two levels. I want to take a good luck at how they do against the Rams 1’s as a unit. However, the biggest focus is going to be on the center position and the linemen as individuals as their performance in this game could potentially do a lot to alleviate concern over the Saints one Achilles heel on the roster. Goodwin is the experienced and consistent vet, but Lelito and Jones both have potential and Kelemete has a golden opportunity to earn himself a spot on the depth chart here as well.
Who makes a statement at the WR position?
Andy Tanner is the gutsy guy who gives it his all and uses tremendous focus and technique to make up for lacking ability. Joseph Morgan runs with Hermes Sandals on his feet… or at least he used to, does he still have the burners he once had and how is his blocking? Brandon Coleman has all the hype, but can he show us anything when he gets his chance? Toon has made a habit of destroying pre-season rosters and has been used as his natural field stretcher role in the pre-season, but he needs to show consistency and dominance early and often to stake his claim at being in the main rotation. Stills, Colston, and Cooks are locks for the roster and to be key cogs in the offense so I don’t really care what I see from them. We will two, three at the most, of the other guys this year, but the only way they are making this roster is if they show something. Who is going to make the coaches have a long night in the film room?
Can the defense put on a show?
I don’t expect Rob to pull out all the stops in the pre-season, and I don’t think he will leave key guys in too long. When I say a show what I am talking about is guys like Pierre Warren, Marcus Ball, Khairi Fortt, Ronald Powell, SJB, and everyone else with something to prove. I want to see a defense that is absolutely flying around out there and constantly trying to make plays. A combination of athleticism, swagger, and technique is what each of these guys needs to flash. I don’t expect them to look like pro-bowlers (although I certainly wouldn’t mind) but I want to see guys who think they are going to be.
I will do a recap of the game with what I thought was most relevant and telling from it as soon as I am done watching the film. This will be good practice for me as it will be my first time with actual film study so pardon me if I come across as a dolt. So stoked for the season to finally have started and WHODAT!!!