Bright spots still show in New Orleans Saints loss to Green Bay Packers


For some time now, a motto of the New Orleans Saints has been to finish strong.  Unfortunately, they were unable to do that in Thursday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers after jumping to a quick 10-0 lead.  But as we all know it’s only the preseason, and it was the exhibition finale, which means the starters were nowhere to be seen out on the field.

While it is a bit discouraging to see the Saints go win-less during the preseason after giving up 38 unanswered points to the Packers in the 38-10 scorch at Lambeau Field, in reality, it means absolutely nothing besides the fact this contest was used in an effort to determine which backup players make the final 53-man roster.  Still, it’d be nice to see these second, third and fourth-string players do a little more with all the injuries looming. It’s make or break for a handful of these guys.

New Orleans Saints team stats:
Total yards – 261
Passing yards – 200
Rushing yards – 61
First downs – 15
Turnovers – 2

Green Bay Packers team stats:
Total yards – 390
Passing yards – 275
Rushing yards – 115
First downs – 21
Turnovers – 1

New Orleans Saints offensive leaders:

QB Luke McCown – 5 of 5, 82 YDS, 1 TD
QB Ryan Griffin – 7 of 13, 56 YDS
QB Garrett Grayson – 8 of 19, 73 YDS, 2 INT

RB Tim Hightower – 8 ATT, 34 YDS
RB Marcus Murphy – 6 ATT, 12 YDS

WR Brandon Coleman – 4 REC, 82 YDS
WR Willie Snead – 3 REC, 31 YDS, 1 TD
WR Joe Morgan – 2 REC, 27 YDS
WR Josh Morgan – 2 REC, 22 YDS

New Orleans Saints defensive leaders

S Kenny Phillips – 7 TKL, 4 AST
LB Jerry Franklin – 5 TKL, 1 AST
OLB/DE Kasim Edebali – 4 TKL, 1 AST
CB Kyle Wilson – 4 TKL
DE Bobby Richardsoon – 4 TKL, 2 AST

DE Bobby Richardson – 1 Sack

CB Kyle Wilson – 1 INT

Players — backup players — struggled tremendously.  However, again, it’s preseason, and there were some bright spots Thursday night.  Luckily, those bright spots came from the players who are really going to be counted on when the regular season begins.

While shining at training camp, second-year wide receiver Brandon Coleman made no noise whatsoever during the first three preseason games, but that changed in Green Bay.  The 6-foot-6 Coleman reeled in four grabs for 82 yards, including a 45-yard bomb that set up fellow receiver Willie Snead for a score on the first drive.  Tonight’s performance likely locked both Coleman and Snead into the final roster.  Drew Brees has some new, dangerous toys to play with in 2015.  After Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, Coleman and Snead, it’s up for grabs.  Joe Morgan didn’t help his case when he let a ball thrown by Garrett Grayson go threw his hands and into the defender’s for an interception.

On the defensive side of the ball, cornerback Kyle Wilson came away with an interception and finished third on the team with five tackles.  With Keenan Lewis battling a hip injury, a veteran like Wilson has an excellent chance at making the roster as a safety blanket.  Thursday’s performance may have been the icing on the cake for the former first-round pick.  The same goes for veteran safety Kenny Phillips, who led the team in tackles.  With Jairus Byrd‘s status up in the sir and Vinnie Sunseri now on injured reserve, Phillips’ performance certainly didn’t hurt his chances.

Davis Tull was another bright spot, applying pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, however, his lone tackle/sack was called back on a penalty.  With little depth in the pass rush department with the departure of Junior Galette and placement of Anthony Spencer on injured reserve, Tull could be safe.

Finally, undrafted rookie defensive end Bobby Richardson continued his summer hot streak, racking up the New Orleans Saints’ only sack versus the Packers.  It was only the second sack of the preseason for Rob Ryan‘s unit. Richardson in another candidate to fill the pass rush voids.

Preseason or not, losses are tough, but these games, especially the final contest, are meant for growth, development, finding out who will play where, and who will actually make the team.  I’d like to add that one of the biggest battles tonight was between quarterbacks Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin.  It’s likely only one makes this team, and after tonight, it looks to be the veteran McCown, but we’ll see what happens when the roster is trimmed down.

No, it’s not enjoyable to see your team go without a win in the preseason, but just remember, the starters rarely played.  We’ll get a better idea of how good or bad this team is when Drew Brees and company play an entire game.  It’s still too early to tell where this team places, especially in the NFC South.

With the injury bug continuing to bite the New Orleans Saints, questions continue to surround this organization, but hopefully some of them get answered before the regular season gets underway.  I wouldn’t say this organization is in trouble just yet, but only time will tell.  The Black and Gold, a team still defined by potential, open up the regular season at the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Sept. 13.

More from Who Dat Dish