Aug 8, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New Orleans Saints listen to the national anthem before a game against the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
In less than eight short hours, the New Orleans Saints are set to host the Tennessee Titans tonight in the Superdome. The Saints have not played in the Dome for some 229 days (December 28, 2013 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Many football fans across the globe might suggest, ‘Hey. It’s just preseason. What’s the big deal?’. I’m sorry to say, you don’t understand Saints football. The atmosphere in New Orleans is rapidly building, and we’re anxious to see our team back at home. I guarantee you that the Dome will have a heightened attendance, more so than other teams. Here’s some parting questions I have as we head into tonight’s matchup.
Do we see repeat performances from players?
Mark Ingram, Brandin Cooks, Ryan Griffin, Josh Hill, Tyrunn Walker, and Senio Kelemete were just some of the players that shined during last week’s matchup with the Rams. I’m wondering how these guys play tonight as a follow up performance. Cooks seems to be the early front-runner to dazzle us again, especially in front of the home crowd.
Does Ryan Griffin work with the first team offense at all?
If I’m looking at having a two quarterback system this season, and Griffin is truly someone you’d feel comfortable with backing up Drew Brees, then I want to see what he does with the first team offense. Griffin may not start tonight, but I am eager to see if he gets some reps in with the first team.
Who will rebound the most from last week?
There were some ugly performances from the Saints last week. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Brandon Coleman, Seantavius Jones, and Brian Dixon come to mind of those players that struggled against the Rams. Also, there were ten penalties committed by the team last week. I want to see whether these were first game jitters or not. I give them the benefit of the doubt heading into tonight.
Which players should we look for?
Earlier in the week, I gave you five players to keep an eye on. In addition to those players (Ryan Griffin, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Tyrunn Walker, Derrick Strozier, and Trevin Wade) keep watch on: Ty Zimmeran, Tim Flanders, Marcus Ball, Brandon Coleman, and Khairi Fortt.
Do we see a better defensive outing?
Look, I get it that it’s preseason. It’s hard to formulate opinions based on one game. The Saints first team made a nice adjustment after the Rams scored with ease last week. Unfortunately, the depth behind them did not fare so well. I would like to see more out of these guys. I poked fun at the Dallas Cowboys last week on Twitter for giving up nearly 400 yards of offense. In reality, the Saints gave up 388 yards last week.
Can someone distance themselves in the kicking battle?
Derek Dimke took advantage of Shayne Graham’s missed extra point last week, and we true on his extra point and field goal attempt. Dimke is giving Graham a run for his money, but really struggled on the last day of training camp going 1/3 in his tries. Dimke needs to ‘kick it up a notch’ tonight.
Are any of the hurt players from last week going to play?
If it were a regular season game, we would have been having a fit by not having the services of Drew Brees, Ben Grubbs, Kenny Stills, Jahri Evans, Champ Bailey, Victor Butler, Erik Lorig, Pierre Thomas, and Jairus Byrd. Do any of these players suit up tonight? PT seems like the most likely choice to play tonight out of the bunch. Personally, I’m not in favor of rushing any of these guys back onto the field unless they are completely 100%.
As always, enjoy the game Who Dat Nation! What are you looking for most out of tonight? Sound off below!