The Saints dropped their first pre-season game against the Patriots losing what became a close contest towards the end of the fourth quarter 24-27.
It would have been nice for Saints fans to see their beloved team walk away with the win but pre-season is and always will be a series of tune ups in preparation for the season opener.
Drew Brees lead the offense in three different possessions and seemed uncharastically off que with his receivers missing several throws and even taking a sack on third down during the first series for a ten yard loss.
However they seemed to find their groove during the third series as they marched down the field with a good mixture of run and pass capped by a Bush touchdown run around the left side after a vicious stiff arm on Patriots CB Darius Butler. (Video Linked Here)
Brees finished 9 of 13 for 55 yards no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Veteran quarterback Patrick Ramsey would take over the ranes after the score and faired pretty well, although we’ll leave that breakdown for the list.
1. Patrick Ramsey looked better than decent filling in for Brees.
Ramsey, a journey man backup quarterback, was signed less than a week into the start of the Saints training camp to compete with Chase Daniel and Sean Canfield for the backup spot heading into 2010.
Admittedly fans were a bit skepticle upon his arrival as he has not necessarily has the best career to date. We here at WhoDatDish.com also were a bit confused when it was announced he was signed calling his addition somewhat of a head scratcher.
Ramsey would play the majority of the game goign 7 of 11 for 111 yards no touchdowns and no interceptions.
He was able to move the offense well and seemed comfortable in the pocket even throwing well on the run when he was forced to scramble, unlike Daniel who played sparingly towards the end of the game and appeared to be bothered by the Patriots pressure.
If he continues to display this level of play throughout the pre-season, assuming Daniel doesn’t step up, then he appears in line to become the top backup for 2010.
2. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas looked great at weakside linebacker.
I wish I could say that JoLonn Dunbar and Troy Evans looked good on the strong side but I just didn’t see it. After the loss of Scott Fujita the SLB spot is up in the air and the team and fans were hoping to see someone step up and improve on the play of Fujita.
Did that happen? No.
It was clear however that the best linebacker in the game was third string backer Jonathan Casillas who played the bulk of the snaps at the weakside position totaling ten tackles in the game and one sack.
His athleticsim was evident as he displayed the speed needed to get sideline to sideline quickly to make the play, was not bad coverage and was more than solid when defending the run.
A performance like his has surely opened the eyes of the coaching staff and begs the question can he upset incumbent starter Scott Shanle and become the next starting weak side linebacker.
3. Running backs P.J. Hill and Chris Ivory looked good, but Hill seemed to be the better man.
The Saints have lost running back Lynell Hamilton for the season after he tore his ACL during joint practices with the Patriots earlier this week.
Now more than ever the Saints need someone to step up and assume the third running back spot behind Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas to take the place of Hamilton.
Hill ran for thirty yards on nine carries while Ivory produced the same amount of yardage on three less carries. Hill was the quicker of the two backs while Ivory the more powerful.
Ivory did have a nice moment when he plunged into the end-zone for a touchdown late in the third quarter but at least judging by appearances Hill seemed to be the more comfortable of the two inside the Saints offense.
So will it be Hill or will it be Ivory who wins out the roster spot?
4. Wide receiver Larry Beavers is a heck of a return guy.
With a last name like Beavers you can’t go wrong, but all joking aside the undrafted free agent out of Wesley College turned in perhaps the biggest play besides Adrian Arrington’s 54 yard catch and run when he returned a kick off 97 yards for the touchdown.
Beavers fielded the kick at the three, broke to his left before finding a hole to zip through to his right, got to the sideline, broke a tackle and cut back to his left to walk into the end-zone untouched.
He also nearly broke another one after a thirty yard return but he was brought down from behind before he could get to daylight.
Beavers only real chance to make the roster is as a return specialist and with continued demonstration that he can perform at the level he did against the Patriots consistently he will make the roster.
Looks like Beavers will battle Roby for that honor.
5. The Saints were terrible covering kick and punt returns.
That had to be the reaction of most fans while watching the Saints struggle to stop returns as virtually every return they were beat like a drum.
New Orleans surrendered a hair under 200 yards in returns to the Patriots (4 punts -57 yards, 5 kick-offs – 137 yards) including two returns of 52 and 50 yards.
Consistently they were washed out of the play, would over pursue and would simply bounce off the returner when they were able to close the gap. You can’t win when you consistently give the opposing team amazing field position.
You can bet that the team will be working on covering kick-offs this week in practice after such a pitiful performance. No one wants to see this carried over into the regular season.