Breaking down every Saints WR performance in preseason opener

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kawaan Baker -Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kawaan Baker -Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Saints opened the 2022 preseason against the Houston Texans and lost 17-13. During the game, we saw seven different receivers targeted by either Andy Dalton or Ian Book.

The New Orleans Saints preseason opener started off with a major bang but then the offense fizzled once Andy Dalton and the other bigger names were pulled from the game. The rest of the offense managed just six points and the Texans were able to score in the final minute to get the preseason-opening victory.

The loss isn’t that big of a deal because it’s preseason and we didn’t see many of the starters out there but let’s take a look at every receiver’s performance. We’ll only be discussing those who saw playing time. Easop Winston was cut on Monday so he was not included here.

All stats courtesy of ESPN

Chris Olave didn’t get to shine but that’s okay

The first-round rookie out of Ohio State had one pass sent his way and he hauled it in for four yards. Olave was surprisingly low on the first unofficial depth chart but no one actually expects Olave to be a backup when the season begins. He’ll be right out there with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry when the season gets underway so no need to panic about the limited production.

Tre’Quan Smith was underwhelming

Smith is fighting for a roster spot and while he had a nice catch (his only of the day) that went for 15 yards and a first down, he’ll unfortunately be more remembered for what he didn’t do in the performance. While Ian Book was trying to connect with Smith in the end zone, the wide receiver failed to come down with what should have been an easy catch for him. It’s the story of Smith’s career.

Marquez Callaway flashed in limited action

Despite Callaway potentially being a trade candidate as we inch closer to the start of the season, he showed why he should make the team as a WR4/5. The former UDFA might have only had one catch but it went for 19 yards and was a gem of a catch. It’d be hard not to have Callaway on the roster but if he continues to perform well, the team might be able to get a late draft pick in exchange.

Kirk Merritt didn’t bring training camp juice

One of the unexpected stars in training camp has been former Dolphins receiver Kirk Merritt and it had become increasingly difficult for the team to potentially part ways with him. In the preseason opener, however, Merritt didn’t bring that noise to the gridiron. He had just two catches for eight yards. He still has two games to show that what he displayed in camp wasn’t a fluke.

Kevin White only spent time on special teams

The Saints took a chance on first-round bust Kevin White last year and they’re giving him another chance this year. White didn’t get any targets during the preseason opener but instead was one of the gunners on special teams. Maybe this will be his role come the regular season (assuming he makes the team)?

Kawaan Baker was one of the most impressive receivers

After an underwhelming rookie year, the Saints needed to see something from Baker, especially after it was announced that he’d be suspended to begin the season. This made it seem pretty likely that Baker would be an easy cut but he had one of the better wide receiver performers, hauling in two catches for 31 yards with a long of 26 yards. He needs to keep doing this if he wants to make the team.

Dai’Jean Dixon’s stock rose the most

As a UDFA, Dixon’s path to making the team was always going to be tough but he was the star of the position group during Saturday’s game. The Nicholls State product racked up three catches for 33 yards and had a long of 17 yards. He was definitely Ian Book’s favorite target and it showed in the game. Will this performance be enough for Dixon to make the team?

This is only one preseason game but so far, this is all we have to go off of for a lot of these guys. Will things change in the final two preseason games?

Next. All-Time Leaders in Receiving Yards. dark

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