While the games mean absolutely nothing, the NFL Preseason is still an excellent time to learn about what your team has to offer for the upcoming regular season. People want see their new players compete in real-game situations for the first time in a new uniform.
Today, we’ll take a quick peek at the contest between your New Orleans Saints and the St. Louis Rams. Many believe the Black and Gold are looking at the best roster the franchise has ever seen, including myself. There is some intriguing talent down here in the Big Easy. While most of the starters will only see a series or two, this is the perfect time to catch a glimpse of their relief.
Saints Players to watch:
QB Ryan Griffin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, WR Joe Morgan, OLB Victor Butler, DE Rufus Johson and FS Rafael Bush. We’re all ready to see what Brandin Cooks aka “Lightning” can do. Some other notable rookies include ILB/OLB Khairi Fortt, OLB Ronald Powell, SS Vinnie Sunseri and FS Pierre Warren, who has been nothing but a pleasant surprise at training camp so far.
Ryan Griffin is quickly becoming the favorite to win the backup role, and with Drew Brees likely sidelined for tonight’s matchup with an oblique strain, the former Tulane star should see a hefty chunk of action. Robinson is emerging as a fan favorite and may be the team’s best talent in the backfield. Both Morgan and Butler are looking to bounce back from injury and reclaim their roles, so we could see a bit of them. Johnson is looking for his spot on the 53-man roster. Rafael Bush should be watched as well – he should see an extended role when Rob Ryan utilizes those three-safety sets.
As for Coach Jeff Fisher and companty, they came away with a very successful 2014 NFL Draft. St. Louis is loaded with outstanding athletes, but it will be incredibly tough for them to compete in the NFC West, which in my opinion, is the toughest division in football.
Rams Players to Watch:
Obviously, we want to see how good the No. 2 overall pick, LG Greg Robinson, is at protecting Sam Bradford‘s blind side. Then, we have rookie DT Aaron Donald, who is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. Keep an eye on former Florida defensive backs Marcus Roberson and Lamarcus Joyner as well — they can both ball.
Former Missouri CB E.J. Gaines has looked solid at training up to this point. Speaking of Missouri, rookie DE and seventh-round pick Michael Sam is the center of attention at the moment, so we’ll see what he is able to do. The Rams went all in on SEC talent this year. We all saw what RB Zac Stacy did last year, but now it’s time to see how rookie RB Tre Mason (2013 SEC Offensive Player of the Year and Heisman finalist) performs at the next level.
Both the Saints and Rams are full to the brim with intriguing prospects, so it will be exciting to see how these two teams match up with each other. They go head-to-head tonight in the Edward Jones Dome, so weather is not a factor. After a disappointing loss last year, New Orleans will look to get their revenge in this preseason contest. Don’t forget to look for the awkward moment between Sean Payton and Gregg Williams — we all know how that partnership ended.
Be sure to tune in to NFL Network at 7:00 p.m. CT or WVUE Fox 8 New Orleans depending on location.