Deke's Saints vs. Texans preview: Gotta stay healthy!
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 25 2012 11:02AM
Well, this is the third preseason game, and the one where the starting players will see the most time on the field. The Saints coaching staff has said all week that their plans are to have their starting players play into the third quarter of the game.
Here are some things to look for in the third and most meaningful game of the preseason
1. Trindon and Travaris – Two of the top yard-getters this preseason are featured in this game as former LSU star Trindon Holiday has racked up 349 yards in returns with an 87 yard punt return for a TD against the 49ers. Holiday also had a 90 yard kickoff return for a TD in week one of the preseason. The story of the Saints has been Travaris Cadet. Cadet has led the league in total yards gained with 368 yards. Cadet has 19 grabs for 171 yards and he’s coming off another solid outing. Although both of these players have had good starts so far, they are still not locks to make their team’s 53 man roster.
2. Tackling Machines? - Coach Joe Vitt was not pleased with the way his Saints tackled last week, and tackling is something that has been inconsistent with the Saints the last several seasons. Wrapping up and making good clean stops against Houston would be a welcome change for the Who Dat Nation. If the problem continues this week, this game could be a track meet. Curtis Lofton leads the Saints defense with 14 tackles, but he’s out. Jonathan Casillas is right there in the hunt with 11 stops, and Lawrence Wilson has been impressive with nine stops. The Saints also added Barrett Ruud who could play late in the game. I think the Saints will be an improved tackling team in the long haul, but right now they have to stay healthy.
3. Premier Offenses – The Texans can run the football, and they advanced to the AFC Divisional Round last season with only their third-string QB at the helm. We know the Saints offense is the best in the NFL, and the Texans are not far behind. Houston is deep at WR, QB, RB and their O-Line paves the way for one of the best rushing attacks in the game today. I’m not sure if this game is a preview of the Super Bowl, but the likelihood of one of these teams playing in the Dome in February is very high. You can bet that both the Saints and Texans Offensive Units will be among the NFL’s elite this season.
4. Who’s going to play LB – To say that the Saints are banged up at the LB position would be an understatement. Last weekend the Saints lost Chris Chamberlain, a linebacker who had mastered the defensive system. New Orleans brought in veteran LB, and former Tampa Tackling Machine, Barrett Rudd to the mix. The main thing right now is to just get through this game without any major injuries. New Orleans looks to be solid at LB, but if another player goes down this spot could be troublesome!
5. Wide Receiver battle – With the first cut of the preseason due on Monday, the battle at WR for the Saints has gotten even more interesting. Courtney Roby is currently 2nd on the team with 10 grabs for 146 yards, while Cadet has 19 grabs for 171 yards. Andy Tanner is still hurt and so is Adrian Arrington. So is this a chance for Joe Morgan to cement himself in the Saints WR mix? Morgan started off hot in training camp, then cooled off…but currently has seven receptions in the preseason for 110 yards, including a 53 yard TD. Another big outing by Morgan this week could land him a roster spot!