In today’s read, we delve into the intricacies of the New Orleans Saints second preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers. With an impressive 22-17 victory, the Saints have solidified their 2-0 record in the preseason campaign. However, this game was far from a typical regular-season matchup, as it allowed lesser-known players to showcase their talents and carve out a spot on the roster. In the absence of key starters, including Derek Carr, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Juwan Johnson, and Cam Jordan, the limelight was cast upon rookies and members of the second and third string. As we break down this preseason encounter’s notable ups and downs, a comprehensive analysis will highlight the promising prospects and areas warranting further attention.
Defense Shines Bright
In a preseason showdown marked by youthful vigor and second-string prowess, the New Orleans Saints defense emerged as a standout. The second defensive unit, in particular, demonstrated exceptional performance that left an indelible mark on the game. In a display of skillful execution, the defense managed to force turnovers and disrupt the Chargers’ offensive rhythm, showcasing depth that could prove invaluable during the regular season. This performance not only underscored the Saints’ defensive resilience but also hinted at the potential strength of their roster.
Rookie Running Back Finds His Stride
A notable bright spot in the Saints’ second preseason matchup was the remarkable improvement of rookie running back Kendre Miller. Contrasting with his debut against the Chiefs, Miller’s contributions on the field were more pronounced and impactful. Against the Chargers, he showcased his evolution by exhibiting a more confident and effective running style. Accumulating 23 yards on ten carries, Miller found the end zone for a touchdown, a testament to his growing comfort within the team’s offensive scheme. Furthermore, his versatility as a receiver came to the fore as he hauled three passes for 36 yards. His 27-yard reception, courtesy of a Jameis Winston pass, set the stage for his triumphant first touchdown as a Saint. Miller’s evolution signifies a promising addition to the Saints’ backfield.
Alvin Kamara: 28 years old
Jamaal Williams: 28 years old
Kendre Miller: 21 years old. Explosive two way ability at 220 pounds.
His growth in this offense could be rapid. Has a chance to get off to a very fast start with the Kamara suspension. pic.twitter.com/jGrFLbpQ0e
— TheOGfantasyfootball (@TheOGfantasy) August 21, 2023
Rookie Backup QB Impresses
The Saints’ quarterback lineup featured seasoned names and promising rookie Jake Haener, who took the field as a backup. Haener’s poised performance added another layer of optimism to the Saints’ preseason outing. Completing 11 of 17 passes for 118 yards, Haener showcased his ability to manage the game and make accurate throws. With a Quarterback Rating (QBR) of 84.9, he demonstrated confidence and control in the pocket. Haener’s impressive showing underlines the depth the Saints possess at the quarterback position, reassuring the coaching staff should the need for backup arise during the regular season.
Depth at Offensive Line Raises Concerns
While several encouraging aspects marked the Saints’ second preseason matchup against the Chargers, it also highlighted areas that warrant attention. Notably, the depth at the offensive line emerged as a concern that couldn’t be ignored. Throughout the game, it became evident that the offensive line struggled to maintain consistent protection, leading to moments of disruption in offensive plays. This highlighted the importance of further bolstering the depth along the offensive front to ensure a well-rounded and resilient performance, particularly as the regular season approaches.
Penalty Woes Cast a Shadow
Another downside that overshadowed the Saints’ otherwise promising performance was their struggle with penalties. The team’s encounters with penalties disrupted the game’s flow and hindered their ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Had it not been for the untimely infractions against the Saints, the scoreboard could have displayed a more favorable outcome for the team. As they progress, discipline and precision will likely be focal points for the coaching staff, seeking to minimize errors and maximize their scoring potential in the coming games.
Isaiah Foskey Not Ready for Bigger Role
The Saints have been looking for a defensive end to line up opposite Cam Jordan and produce at the highest level for several years. As it seems, it will not be second-round pick Isaiah Foskey. The Fighting Irish’s all-time sack leader is unprepared for increased responsibility on the defensive line. At best, he will assume the role of a rotational player who may contribute to the Saints’ defensive line.
What Lies Ahead?
The Saints head home to New Orleans to close the preseason against the Houston Texans on Sunday, August 27. The joint practice between the two teams was initially supposed to happen days before the game was canceled.
“Our two teams have mutually agreed to cancel the joint practices that were scheduled in New Orleans this week,” the Texans said in a statement. “After our head coaches spoke earlier today, we decided this was in the best interest of both teams as we continue to prepare for the regular season. A revised practice schedule for each team will be communicated once finalized.” According to Nola.com columnist Jeff Duncan, mounting injuries on the Texans roster may have led to the decision.
Sounds like the Texans made the call on canceling the joint practices with the Saints this week. Mounting injuries were an issue.
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) August 21, 2023
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