The New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers on Friday night in what will be both teams’ second preseason game. These Saints need to bounce back after having a rough go of it during their preseason opener.
With the NFL preseason only consisting of three games now as opposed to four games, players who find themselves as potential cuts have one less game to prove that they belong on the roster. These three New Orleans Saints don’t have that fourth game now and need to ensure that the impression they left in the preseason opener isn’t what the team remembers about them.
Here are three Saints who need a bounce-back game on Friday against the Green Bay Packers.
All stats courtesy of ESPN
Jameis Winston didn’t play in the preseason opener, so Andy Dalton took the first-team reps. He led the offense down the field in a hurry and topped off the drive with a touchdown pass to Dwayne Washington.
When Dalton left after the first series, Ian Book took over the quarterbacking duties and played for the rest of the game. While Book didn’t have top-tier talent surrounding him, his performance didn’t leave much to be desired. He went 15-of-22 for 121 yards and an interception while getting sacked five times.
K.J. Costello probably doesn’t factor into this Saints offense much but if the team wants to give him some playing time this weekend, it’s important for Book to perform better so that his third-string job isn’t taken from him.
This isn’t last year’s Saints wide receiver room where a typical WR5/6 could disguise themselves as a WR2/3. This isn’t good news for Tre’Quan Smith, who was someone who had a bigger role than he probably should have during the 2021 season.
Smith failed to live up to expectations during his contract year but the team opted to re-sign him. Even with the new contract, Smith isn’t guaranteed to make the final roster and the team’s improvement at the position is a big reason why.
During the preseason opener, Smith had a nice catch that went for 15 yards and a first down. Unfortunately, that catch and conversion weren’t what Smith was remembered for during the game. Nope, Smith was remembered for what he didn’t do.
Book targeted Smith in the end zone for what should have been a touchdown but Smith couldn’t come down with the catch. It summed up a lot of why Smith hasn’t been the guy New Orleans was hoping he’d be when they spent a third-round pick on him four years ago.
Honestly, DaMarcus Fields doesn’t have a great chance of making the team and the preseason opener further solidified that. What a bounce-back performance could do for him, however, is keep him around as a practice squad option.
Fields struggled in the preseason opener, allowing Jalen Camp to blow past him for a touchdown. It wasn’t a good look for the UDFA rookie and he’ll have to be much better against Green Bay if he wants a fighting chance of making the team.
Which New Orleans Saints do you think need to have a bounce-back game?
Want your voice heard? Join the Who Dat Dish team!