The third preseason game is often referred to as the ‘dress rehearsal’ for many NFL teams. For the New Orleans Saints, it will be a game that many will be watching under a microscope because of the many players and veterans set to return to action. The black and gold are heading to Indianapolis to take on the Colts.
Here are my five players I’m watching for this week’s matchup:
Corey White, Cornerback
Here we go. Fans are down on Corey White. What everyone needs to understand and realize is that Corey White is not supposed to be the starting cornerback for the New Orleans Saints. White even understands his role in the Saints defense.
“It’s an ongoing process as long as I keep moving forward,” White said. “A lot of those reps have been good for me just showing the coaches what I can do on a constant, consistent basis.”
Corey White is thankful that he has veterans Keenan Lewis, Champ Bailey, and Patrick Robinson back in the mix. You should see White excel as the team’s nickel cornerback here. Simmer down, and have some faith in White.
Pierre Warren, Safety
Pierre Warren is that undrafted rookie free agent that is turning heads at practice and in preseason. Warren has arguably performed well enough to warrant a roster spot on this team. Obviously, Warren’s full-time role on the Saints would be a bit shadowed by Jairus Byrd, Kenny Vaccaro, and Rafael Bush. However, another solid game from Warren will make roster decisions that much more fun for the Saints final roster decisions. We could be seeing as many as six safeties on the team this year.
Tim Lelito, Center/Guard
The Center position is not decided yet, and with Drew Brees missing action, the Saints have a real chance to find out what they have with Lelito in live action. I’m interested to see how Lelito runs with the first team, and how he handles the noise and audibles for Drew. Let’s put it this way, one minor mistake from Lelito should pave the way for veteran Jonathan Goodwin. Lelito’s versatility at guard helps him in the long run. With this being the ‘dress rehearsal’, I’m curious as to whether we see Goody and Lelito swap out on drives.
Nick Toon, Wide Receiver
In a way, it’s do or die for Nick Toon. With the emergence of Joe Morgan in last week’s preseason game, it puts more pressure on Toon, as he’s likely the fifth or even six option on the team’s current depth chart. My colleague of the New Orleans Advocate, Ramon Antonio Vargas, puts Toon on the roster bubble. Am I saying he will be cut? Not necessarily, but we need to see something amazing from Toon, as his hourglass is running out. The Saints will likely keep a minimum of five receivers this year, but six wouldn’t be out of the question. It may come down to how many defensive players the team wishes to keep, see the next player.
Marcus Ball, Safety
When you look at the Saints buffet of safeties right now, you can’t help but feel encouraged at the weaponry Rob Ryan has to attack with. Marcus Ball is a very intriguing prospect, as he’s a ‘Roman Harper’ type player with the hybrid linebacker/safety abilities. He has all of the things that Rob Ryan loves, but hasn’t necessarily shined compared to rookies Vinnie Sunseri and Pierre Warren. Ball has a real shot to make the team this year, and his play against the Colts and Ravens will be one to watch for. Ball’s best bet is to stand out on special teams.
Have any game predictions? Let us know below!