Reminding all to keep it all in perspective - that this was an opening preseason game - there were some positive things to take from the New Orleans Saints' 17-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday night at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Here are my instant post-Hall of Fame Game takes:
**Chase Daniel distinguished himself pretty well, making a couple of nice hot reads, changing plays at the line of scrimmage. He displayed accuracy, hitting nine consecutive passes at one point. He showed mobility, rolling away from pressure, buying time, forcing the defensive player to uncover from previously covered receivers. His performance was dimmed by a bad throw on a bad decision which resulted in an interception in the end zone by Blake Gideon, negating a nice drive on the Saints first possession of the second half. Daniel ran the ball a tad too much as well, particularly for an exhibition game. You are better off to simply throw the ball away, if necessary, for self preservation. Daniel was 15-of-20 for 203 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
**Courtney Roby helped his cause with four catches for 54 yards. We did not get to see him return a kick. He is in a battle for his roster life.
**Adrian Arrington, who has looked very good in training camp, did not play. Ditto for draft pick Nick Toon.
**Hometown hero Joe Morgan had three catches for 35 yards and though he misjudged a punt, he tracked it down and returned it nicely for 19 yards. He also returned a kickoff for 29 yards. Morgan had a chance at a pair of other possible receptions but failed to haul them in. He must make plays consistently if he wants to make the squad. Morgan has elite speed, a potential separator from his primary competition to make the squad. Morgan played high school and college football at Fawcett Stadium.
**Andy Tanner had four catches for 75 yards though he fumbled in the fourth quarter on a huge hit, which did not help his cause. He is a nice receiver, smooth, runs good routes, has decent size and good hands. He is capable of playing in the NFL but may be caught in a numbers game. Still, he is doing enough to keep himself in the mix.
**The running backs all showed well, displaying nice vision and cut-back ability. Once again, there is at least one player who can play in the league who will not make the team. Thomas, Sproles, Ingram and Ivory are solid players. Travaris Cadet showed well when he had the opportunity, particularly in the passing game though he displayed kick return ability as well. Cadet had eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.
**The Martez Wilson experiment is off to a good start. He showed a real burst, getting two sacks. Most impressively, he did it two different ways, one on a speed move to beat Bobby Massie, the other on an inside move. On a running play in the fourth quarter, he forced Thomas Clayton to cut back on a running play, missing him initially but hustling back inside to make the stop, a very athletic play.
**Junior Galette had a sack and a pressure and showed outstanding speed off the corner. If Galette and Wilson can rush the passer with consistency, Steve Spagnuolo will be able to resist blitzing and play zone behind his front.
**Curtis Lofton showed good reaction to the football and striking ability. With all due respect to Jonathan Vilma, the Saints will be fine at inside linebacker.
**Drew Brees was efficient, accomplishing exactly what the Saints hoped he would do, engineering a 10 play, 77 yard drive on the first possession of the game and getting him out of the contest. He was 4-of-5 for 41 yards though it was not a pleasant sight to see him get hit on the first two plays of the game.
**It was nice to see Malcolm Jenkins make a play. You know he went an entire season without an interception last year. He got one in his first preseason game this year, spying inside, reading Kevin Kolb's eyes, undercutting Andre Roberts and getting the pick. In the same vein, it was nice to see Sedrick Ellis make a play as well. He was largely invisible in 2011.
**Brad Nessler, the play-by-play man for NFL Network, had a couple of interesting comments. First, he said, he never heard of a punter signing a six-year contract extension. For the record, Thomas Morstead led the NFL in touchbacks in 2011 and was one of the league's top punters. He is a lethal weapon in two facets of the kicking game. Later, Nessler stated that Andy Tanner had a couple of catches out of the backfield. For the record, Tanner is a wide receiver. Later, Nessler called John Kasay the oldest player in the league at age 40. For the record, Kasay is 42. Nessler did correct himself.
**Tyrunn Walker, a rookie free agent out of Tulsa, did a nice job at defensive tackle in the second half, both against the run and pass. He opened some eyes and will definitely get a longer look.
**Speaking of Tulsa, linebacker Chris Chamberlain missed one tackle in space but later had a tackle for a loss.
**It was nice to see Garrett Hartley back on the field. While John Kasay is dependable, he is the oldest player in the league. That, alone, will likely give Hartley the job, provided he shows he can stay healthy and shows a level of consistency. Kasay can still get the job done, if needed.
**The replacement referees were a non-story. Though they had a confusing moment with a holding call on the Cardinals on a punt to start the fourth quarter and had an ominous start when they botched the coin toss, they were a non-factor. Did you really notice them? That is the best thing you can say about any crew. They did get an Arizona interception wrong on the field but it was corrected on Joe Vitt's challenge.
**Lawrence Wilson is everyone's hero--the Saints, Cardinals, viewing audience and NFL Network. He prevented a dreaded overtime in a meaningless scrimmage with an interception of Ryan Lindley with just under two minutes remaining.
**Sean Canfield lacks arm strength but you knew that already.
**It was a big weekend for a big man in Willie Roaf, who spoke freely about the Saints, not the Chiefs.
|< Prev||Next >|