With the NFL training camps less than a month away, it’s time to find the camp storylines that we all need to be watching for. The New Orleans Saints have no shortage of them this season.
As the teams begin building chemistry and learning the playbooks, some players are able to distance themselves farther because of their mental capabilities. This time of the season (as little as we are allowed to know about it) is very important for each team.
Here are the four things you need to be watching, looking and listening for during the New Orleans Saints training camp.
Who is going to make the Running Back roster?
The New Orleans Saints knew that the running back position would be lacking when they were unable to retain free agent Mark Ingram. In an effort to replace him, the Saints went off in a flurry of offseason signings. They added Latavious Murray from Minnesota, undrafted rookie Devine Ozigbo from Nebraska and Javorius Allen from Baltimore.
With so much talent on the roster, the Saints are going to have to cut a couple of the guys. They added Dwayne Washington (the former Detriot Lion and Oakland Raider) late last season, while Matt Dayes also currently remains on the roster. Someone has to be paired with Alvin Kamara, and the Saints would prefer the complimentary back to be more power-based than anything.
Who will be the Saints’ number two wide receiver?
With the New Orleans Saints about to lock wide receiver Michael Thomas to a blockbuster deal, the Saints need to find their number two receiver to compliment the possession type traits that Thomas possesses. There are several candidates available.
Ted Ginn was the number two receiver last season when he was healthy. Ginn now turns 34 this season, and recently backed out of the 40-yard dash competition last minute, earning himself some Twitter love.
Ted Ginn ducking out on the 40 yard tournament that *HE* started is the greatest sports moment of the summer.
— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) June 30, 2019
Yeah. Kind of pathetic.
Because of his age, the Saints may need to turn to a younger option. They recently added former Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans receiver Rishard Matthews, who caught 5 passes for 24 yards last season but has always been a solid number-two option. Second-year project Tre’Quan Smith is a good candidate as well, as he contributed well as a rookie last season.
Austin Carr and Cameron Meredith both remain on the roster bubble and could contribute, but the real underrated name to keep an eye on is Lil’Jordan Humphrey. An undrafted rookie out of Texas, Humphrey has good size and battles well for contested passes. He was the number two in college, opposite of Collin Johnson, and was a legitimate threat.
Will Drew Brees return to his All-Pro form?
Drew Brees was an MVP candidate for most of the 2018 season, due to incredible efficiency. He ended up leading the NFL with a career-high 74.4% completion rate and a 115.7 quarterback rating. While Brees was in top form, he also turned 40 in January and enters his 18th season in the NFL. His arm has shown subtle signs that it may not have much life left in it.
The Saints feel the same way and showed this by retaining the services of former Vikings and Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, re-signing him to a one-year deal. While Brees’ arm may be diminishing, his mental game is clearly still in top caliber. That shouldn’t be a worry to the Saints offense. However, without Brees things become questionable.
Saints joint practices with the Chargers may be more interesting than they should be…
On August 15th and 16th, the Saints will be participating in joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers. This storyline could be interesting for those of you who participate in social media.
Last season, the quarterbacks competed in a throwing accuracy challenge and posted the results on Twitter.
— NICK HAMILTON (@NickHamiltonLA) August 22, 2018
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Saints Quick Takes
- Defensive end David Onyemata has been suspended by the NFL one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Onyemata is depth on the defensive line, something that New Orleans has an overabundance of. Still, it will be interesting to see if this affects a roster decision or game rotations come week one.
- New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson has taken some heat for insisting on keeping her title of Owner and not changing it to something less “racist.” She insists that she is “sensitive to the issue” of fans and players potentially feeling charged by the title. But she doesn’t appear to be taking any action against it.
- Brian Baldinger broke down on tape last week his reasons behind why Michael Thomas is the best receiver in the NFL on “Baldy’s Breakdowns.”
- A movie about former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Lewis is in the works, per Nola.com. Lewis famously walked onto the team after a tryout in 2001 from the seat of his beer truck that he drove for work. David DuBos has been hired to write a script for the film, and the project could be in the works as early as the winter of 2019. The movie is based on Lewis’ autobiography, Dreams: The Michael Lewis Story.