The New Orleans Saints finally return to Superdome for a Week 2 bout with the Tennessee Titans. Last week, Brandin Cooks and Mark Ingram shined, while other underwhelmed. Going into this game, here are the players to watch.
Drew Brees is still nursing a strained oblique, so if he plays at all it would be on an extremely limited basis. This once again allows Ryan Griffin a greater allotment of playing time. Griffin did not disappoint in Week 1 going 16 of 23 for 179 yards including a nice touchdown pass to rookie Brandin Cooks where he took a good lick upon releasing the ball. If Griffin puts in a similar performance against the Titans, he will take another step in cementing himself as the number 2 quarterback. The Saints are likely to only keep two quarterbacks and if Griffin performs as well as veteran Luke McCown, he will most likely get the nod because of his age.
Nick Toon and the other receivers
Cooks stole the show last week as far as receivers go catching 5 passes for 55 yards and touchdown. However, the other receivers didn’t really impress. After Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, and Cooks, the competition is wide open. All along, it seemed like Nick Toon was ready to make that jump and grab the 4th receiver spot. Toon was anemic catching only 3 passes for 11 yards. However, luckily for him, receivers like Joe Morgan, Brandon Coleman, and Seantavius Jones also underwhelmed. Somebody has to want this job right? So who is going to end up taking it? Toon and Morgan are still the front runners, but if they don’t show up, somebody else can easily take their spot.
4th safety spot
Similar to wide receiver position, the first 3 spots at safety are solidified with Kenny Vaccaro, Rafael Bush, and Jairus Byrd. After that, it is up for grabs. For a while, draft pick Vinnie Sunseri seemed to be on the fast track, but in the last game he showed some deficiencies in coverage. His lack of explosiveness was evident. His performance has opened the door for safeties Marcus Ball and Pierre Warren. Warren has been the camp darling making plays seemingly every practice. If he can outperform either Ball or Sunseri on special teams, he may force the Saints to keep 5 safeties of maybe every cut one.
Possibly one of the overlooked, yet important, aspects of the game the battle for kicker between Shayne Graham and Derek Dimke is unresolved. Graham is still far ahead, but in the last game, Graham missed from 33 yards out while Dimke connected on all his attempts. I know it is only one miss, but with points being of the utmost importance, misses from chip shot range are unacceptable. Once again Graham is still in the driver seat, but if he slips up again, Sean Payton has never been afraid of trusting in a younger player.