4 New Orleans Saints who have to step up versus Patriots in Week 3
By Kristen Wong
1. New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway
Here’s a fun game you can play in your free time: it’s called ‘Where’s Callaway?’.
It’s quite simple. All you have to do is re-watch the last two New Orleans games and try to spot Marquez Callaway on the field. If you do, you win. If you don’t, well, join the club.
Ever since Callaway’s magisterial preseason performance, we’ve been wondering where the wide receiver has been lately. We’re not angry. We’d just really like to know.
After just two games, there might not be a reason to panic just yet. But then again, maybe there is.
The Saints’ offensive unit as a whole has disappointed, but no player has fallen quite as far as Callaway has. Callaway has recorded three receptions for 22 yards through two weeks, though he was the second-most targeted player against Carolina behind Alvin Kamara.
Following news of Michael Thomas’ surgery, Tre’Quan Smith’s continued absence, and the lack of a dependable veteran starter, Callaway seemed to be the answer to New Orleans’ wide receiver prayers in 2021. He posted 104 yards and two touchdowns in a preseason win against Jacksonville and was quickly touted to be the Saints’ most dangerous offensive weapon. That 43-yard catch was the stuff of dreams.
And it still is.
We’ll admit part of this is our fault. We shouldn’t have hoped. We shot for the moon with Callaway, and we landed back on Earth.
Callaway only played in 25 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2020, when he finished his rookie season as the sixth-most targeted receiver. And suddenly we expect him to be No. 1? We can’t exactly blame the 23-year-old for failing our sky-high expectations.
But we can blame him for his severe lack of production thus far. After facing a tough cornerback matchup in Green Bay, Callaway had the chance to show off his talent against Carolina, but he still floundered. This week, he’ll likely face New Englands’ Jalen Mills, who once again presents a promising matchup for Callaway.
We want nothing more than for Callaway to record his first career touchdown for New Orleans, but two weeks into the season, we’re already starting to lose hope.
He may not be No. 1 in targets or receptions on the team, but he’s No. 1 on this list of Saints players who need to impress against the Patriots.