Wild Overreactions Following First Saints Preseason Game
Let's be honest. Very little of this game will matter by the time we get to the regular season. But...
That will not keep me from completely overreacting about everything I noticed from the contest.
That said, big hot take warning for everything that follows.
The only way that it really makes sense to organize this in my head is by side of the ball, offense, defense, and special teams. Let's get into it.
Andy Dalton would be a starting quarterback on quite a few teams. He only got one drive, but the Red Rifle went 5-for-5, threw a touchdown, and recorded a fantastic 148.8 passer rating. He almost may be a better back up than Teddy Two-Gloves.
Ian Book, on the other hand, is a liability. Just a complete Ryan-Gosling-from-Remember-The-Titans tier liability. Book was consistently high on his passes, and made some pretty bad reads. He did improve as the game went on, but his two turnovers and bad decision-making did not help his stock.
Then again, he was running for his life behind the Saints' inconsistent second string offensive line. Specifically, first-round pick Trevor Penning was beat multiple times on his inside shoulder. Some plays they looked like starters, but they gave up 5 sacks and occasionally stranded the young running backs that ran behind them.
One of those running backs, undrafted free agent Abram Smith, had a decent showing, except for a costly fumble on the Texans one-yard line. Smith reported that his mother had told him to "be the hammer, not the nail." For the most part, he hammered the Texans pretty hard.
Possibly my hottest takeaway from this game? Nicholls State alum Dai'Jean Dixon looked better than Tre'Quan Smith.
This point will come up again, but this Saints defense is DEEP. There were dudes making plays that weren't even on the roster two weeks ago (more on that in a second).
Three guys. Chase Hansen, Brian Allen, and Nephi Sewell.
Chase Hansen signed this week. He has always struggled with injury, which is the reason he has struggled to make any 53-man rosters. If he stays healthy, he may have earned his spot on this one. Hansen recorded a ridiculous 6 tackles, 2 for loss, a pick, and a pass-break-up. He made a mark on the game for sure.
Brian Allen signed two days ago. He intercepted one ball and played some decent defense, although he did give up a big catch in the fourth.
Nephi Sewell was an undrafted free agent signing after the draft. He absolutely flew around against the Texans, making 4 solo tackles. He looked extremely fast. Like really, really fast.
All of that is to say the Saints defense is DEEP. Real deep.
Wil Lutz is such a luxury. He's the type of player that is so quietly important to a team. Last year, Saints fans learned exactly what it means to have a kicker like that last year when Lutz was hurt. It's good to have him back.
Blake GIllikin is excellent, he pinned the Texans back within their own ten yard line multiple times. I hope we barely ever see him.
Zach Wood made a tackle tonight that looked violent. Madden needs to raise his rating to a 99 immediately.
It cannot be stressed enough that being on the plus side of the turnover battle is one of the most important things a team can focus on. The Saints can't keep putting the ball on the ground.
Preseason games really do fall apart when both teams are down to their fourth- and fifth-string reserves in every position huh?
Obviously, it is insanely early to be forming conclusions on the season. But I think it's clear that if the true starters are anywhere near as good as the starters tonight, book the 15-2 season and put your house on the Saints to raise the Lombardi.
(Author's Note: DO NOT leverage your house on any sports bet, especially any team's chance to win the Super Bowl.)