4 New Orleans Saints who have to step up versus Patriots in Week 3

New Orleans Saints (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Saints
Adam Trautman #82 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

2. New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman

We picked a celebratory (though unflattering) picture of Adam Trautman catching a touchdown to manifest what we hope he’ll do against the Patriots.

He doesn’t even have to score. He just has to catch some targets. Or block some people. Or just do anything, really. The bar is so, so low.

To the dismay of his fantasy football managers everywhere, Trautman has been a total non-factor in New Orleans’ offense. Yes, it’s only been two games, but the two-year pro shows no signs of dominating the No. 1 tight end spot left behind by Jared Cook.

After Cook left, the stage was set for his emergence in 2021. Given Winston’s established chemistry with his tight ends, we hoped to see some sparks fly between Trautman and Winston in Week 1. It’s Week 3, and still nothing.

Trautman led the Saints in targets with six in the victory against the Packers, but Winston only needed to throw 20 passes that game. Trautman also dropped two of his targets and was overshadowed by Juwan Johnson’s more accurate and efficient production.

When Winston actually needed to throw the ball well against Carolina, Trautman wasn’t targeted at all. Not once. He played in 52 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, but Johnson is starting to catch up at 41 percent.

In his two games in 2021, Trautman has recorded three receptions for 18 yards and, if it wasn’t already clear, no score.

Maybe Trautman is used to performing below average since he’s played second or third fiddle in the tight end rotation all of last year.

But great players always find a way to rise to the occasion, and that’s precisely what Trautman needs to do now. We can give him one “Get Out Of Jail Free” card for his mediocre rookie season, but this year, Trautman’s all run out of excuses.

If he doesn’t step up against the Patriots on Sunday, the Saints will find someone who can.