The New Orleans Saints returned to the Big Easy after training camp at The Greenbrier came to an end on Wednesday. Coach Sean Payton and company are now preparing for their preseason home opener against the Tennessee Titans.
Fans are anxious for the Week 2 contest to get underway following the victory in St. Louis last Friday. Overall, it was a solid performance, but there is always room for improvement, which we hope to see against our friends from the AFC South. Today, I’m going to go ahead and make five black, gold and bold predictions for tomorrow night’s intriguing matchup in the Crescent City.
Nick tunes up the Titans’ secondary
Nick Toon was a bit quiet last week, catching three passes for only 11 yards. Coaches, players and fans want to see him have success, but it looks like he’s sitting on the roster bubble at the moment. The former fourth-round pick knows that he needs to finish strong during these final three exhibition games, or he could be a goner.
There is a boatload of competition at the wide receiver position this year. With a weak Titans secondary, I believe Toon will have his way with Tennessee’s defensive backs and could very well be the Saints’ leading receiver Friday night.
Rookie RB Bishop Sankey gives the Saints’ D a little trouble
New Orleans gave up 111 yards per game on the ground last season, which was good for No. 19 in the NFL. The defense allowed the Rams 150 rushing yards last week, so until I see some improvement, the Black and Gold’s run stop still sits below average. Hopes are high this year for Bishop Sankey after an incredible college career. He didn’t do too hot against Green Bay last week, but I do see the rookie making progress.
I’m not predicting anything spectacular, just a solid performance. The Saints’ run defense still needs work, and I think tomorrow night will prove that. Once the regular season arrives and the starters are in the mix almost every down, we will see some major improvement from 2013.
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch stay consistent
Mark Ingram rolled tide all over that Rams defense last week. Where has that been all of his professional career? It looks like his momentum from the end of 2013 carried on over to this season. Honestly, I don’t see him slowing down — he’s been looking solid since minicamp.
I know that tons of people are giving up on the former Heisman Trophy winner, but this is the year of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (Saints’ backfield). With a better matchup, look for that unit to keep rocking and rolling tomorrow night against the Titans.
SJB bounces back
It was a rough night in St. Louis for Stanley Jean-Baptiste, the Saints second-round selection of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was just a rookie making rookie mistakes. Mental errors are a no-no if you wish to play under Sean Payton, but I’ll give SJB a pass this one time. The 6-foot-3 former wide receiver screams shutdown potential. He played well during this last week of training camp at The Greenbrier, so watch it to continue on through Friday’s contest.
“Lightning” strikes again
Fans can’t wait to see what Brandin Cooks aka “Lightning” can do in front of a home crowd in the Superdome. I understand that he’s a rookie, but the kid doesn’t play like one. That touchdown catch in St. Louis was something special. The way he spun around to shake off a defender followed by a cut to the left to juke out another one was pretty spectacular. Who’s ready to see him do it again tomorrow? I know I am, and that scenario is very likely against a weak secondary.
Week 2 of the 2014 NFL Preseason is set to get underway. Can Sean Payton and company keep the wins coming? We’ll find out Friday when the New Orleans Saints host the Tennessee Titans at home in the Dome. Check out our game time information for everything you need to know about tomorrow night’s contest.