In keeping with tradition here on Canal Street Chronicles following the Saints first pre-season game, I am going to take a look at some of the players battling it out this summer for a roster spot or a move up the depth chart to see who has made all the right moves and who just hasn't caught a break.
The good news from Thursday nights disappointing performance is that most of the players who shined were also the ones who really needed to do so; second and third teamers who are on the roster bubble or fighting for playing time. Naturally, that means we've got a lot of players with rising stocks to discuss after the jump. So if the starters can clean up the sloppiness we saw on their end, which I fully expect them to do by week one, than the finished product ought to be a deeply talented football team.
Let's take a look, shall we?
The person who most helped himself on Thursday night was definitely Casillas. This time last year we were saying the same thing and praising his first pre-season performance but he couldn't unseat Scott Shanle so I'm still a little hesitant. The question with him is whether he can remain consistent and continue to play at the level we just witnessed. My gut says the veteran Shanle will still be your starting SLB. But at least they'll have some depth.
I liked Arrington's performance not just because he made some nice catches but also because he took some tough hits while doing it. I am optimistic that he can continue to make big plays on his way to a final roster spot. The only thing in his way is the injury bug. I genuinely think that's all it comes down to.
Graham didn't necessarily play poorly, but he certainly didn't play as expected. We can chalk it up to first-game jitters but when it comes to training camp, if you're not standing out then you're standing still. Something tells me the Saints view him as a project and won't cut him even if he doesn't show anything this pre-season.
We can't forget about his muffed punt but at the end of the day, let's face it, his kickoff return has got us thinking about Beavers all the time. In reality, he's still got a long way to go. He's got very little chance at making the team straight up as a receiver so it's special teams and kick returning that will be his golden ticket. Basically, he needs to take Courtney Roby's job.
The former Tulane slinger (Are you getting tired of me mentioning that yet?) took a small step ahead of Chase Daniel in the battle for backup quarterback Thursday night. He finished the game with a 97.2 rating, besting Brees, Brady and every other quarterback that night. So far it looks like he's a younger, slightly better version of Mark Brunell. I'll take it.
If I had to make a comparison I would say that Galette is this years Anthony Hargrove. He's got a bit of an underdog's story and he's one of those players who's always hungry and never stops. I like those kind of players, I like Anthony Hargrove and now I like Junior Galette. I think the coaches like that, too. This might be my heart talking and not my brain but I think the Galette weasels his way into the rotation this season.
I have been a fan of Prioleau's play since he first arrived in New Orleans, offering good special teams play and depth. Evidently, Gregg Williams feels the same way because Prioleau and Williams have followed each other around the league together for years. Last night his performance let me down. Poor coverage and missed tackles are not what I expect from a veteran like Pierson. Because of that experience, however, I don't expect him to continue this slump.