As we roll forward into the second of four New Orleans Saints preseason games, the team turns their attention to the Tennessee Titans. The Titans won their first preseason game 20-16 over the Green Bay Packers. The black and gold are back home at the Superdome this Friday, where Saints football has been absent since December 28, 2013.
Here are my five players I’m watching for this week’s matchup:
Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Cornerback
SJB had a rough outing in the first game. Does that mean you should formulate a negative opinion of him? No, not even a little bit. Both him and wide receiver Brandon Coleman are promising young players, and that’s the keyword: Young. There’s always growing pains associated with at least 75% of the new players a team acquires through the draft process. It’s a huge transition going from college to professional football, but allow the guy to work through it before you write him off. Remember that SJB is a converted wide receiver. We should see a better outing
Trevin Wade, Cornerback
Wade is not a stranger to the Saints, and is doing whatever he can to make this squad. He led the Saints defense in tackles on Friday with six. Wade is currently battling it out with Rod Sweeting, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Derrius Brooks, Brian Dixon, and Terrence Frederick for the team’s fifth and possibly sixth corner positions. Wade has the advantage of being on last year’s team, even if it was just for a couple of months. If he can put together more games like Friday, he may just stay around.
Ryan Griffin, Quarterback
This is a no brainer, but understand that I’m looking for consistency from Griffin. With Drew Brees’ playing status up in the air on Friday, this should mean that we get a lot more of Ryan Griffin. Luke McCown looked good and comfortable with the first team offense. I’m interested to see how Griffin follows up his good game (107.0 QB Rating) against the Rams, where he led them to four scoring drives (three of which were touchdowns). I wouldn’t mind seeing Griffin play with the first team offense. Overall, I’m eagerly keeping an eye on how this quarterback battle shapes up. This possibly spells the difference between the team carrying two quarterbacks instead of three, and would free up a spot to carry another safety or cornerback.
Tyrunn Walker, Defensive end
We should already know about Tyrunn Walker, who is entering his third year as a Saint. Walker finished out with six tackles, a sack, and three tackles for losses against the Rams. Walker is developing nicely, and though he is behind Akiem Hicks on the team’s depth chart, he is still a strong presence in the Saints pass rush. Coupled with second year defensive end Glenn Foster, things are looking up for the team’s future.
Derrick Strozier, Running back
Strozier took full advantage of his playing opportunity against the Rams. He touched the ball five times (one rush, three receptions, and a kickoff return). As track history has shown us, the Saints love finding themselves an undrafted rookie running back. The battle between Strozier and Sam Houston State’s Tim Flanders is heating up, so this is a crucial time for Strozier to shine.
Have any game predictions? Let us know below!