By now, you probably all know that the New Orleans Saints dropped their second straight preseason game of 2012, losing in the final seconds to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Superdome Friday night. But what you don't know is how the Hot Reads played out during the contest, and that's why you're here.
Without further ado, let's venture across the jump.
PRIMARY OPTION - JUST FOR KICKS
What I'd Like To See: Lots and lots of field goal attempts for both Hartley and Kasay, from short and long range to help us get a read on who's really got the best leg and no "yips" anywhere near him.
What I Saw: Garrett Hartley hit his only FG attempt of the night from 37 yards, as well as the only extra point he tried. John Kasay was perfect in his only action, consisting of two extra points. As I said in the original Hot Reads this week, I don't think there's been enough real game action of various kicking scenarios to really give me a sense for which of these guys the Saints should keep on the roster, and that's what I continue to see. Now, I'm not privy to what goes on in the practices and workouts, so they will have all of that information to add to the process, but I just hope they make the correct choice when the time comes. With only one field goal attempt between the two kickers in the entire game, and no clear advantage gained, I have to call this Hot Read: Not achieved.
CHECKDOWN # 1 - DOWNLOW ON THE D-LINE
What I'd Like To See: Just how well these guys get pressure on the QB, and how they hold up against the run.
What I Saw: The defense get gashed for 170 rushing yards, and Blaine Gabbert not have much pressure to deal with as he put up good numbers in leading the Jags to two touchdowns and a field goal. That's not all the defensive line's fault, but they certainly did not really help the cause very much with stellar play, other than occasionally. It did appear to me that running to the right side of the line, at Sedrick Ellis and Will Smith, was where much early success was found. It wasn't as successful as I wanted it to be, but it showed me something, so based on what I called for, this is a Hot Read: Achieved.
CHECKDOWN # 2 - GUNNING DOWN A DREAM
What I'd Like To See: Whether or not he's (Courtney Roby) getting reps as gunner, and then to speculate about it if it means anything for the regular season. Just above my comment linked to above, CP says that playing gunner would not preclude him from being in the regular WR rotation.
What I Saw: Roby participating in his "gunner" role on the first two kickoffs and the first punt, so that doesn't appear to be limited at all. In the passing game, he had the ball thrown to him twice, and caught one of them for seven yards, but that doesn't tell us how often he was on the field for pass plays. Based on this sample, I'm inclined to go with CP on this and say that he can do both roles as special teamer and regular WR. Does anyone know if Robert Meachem played much on special teams in his time with the Saints? Since he and Joe Morgan both seem to be return men and speedy receivers, maybe it will come down to one of them making it over the other. Due to my vague and open-ended script, I get to also call this Hot Read: Achieved.
SAFETY VALVE - TUSK IS HANGING ONTO HIS JOB FOR DEAR LIFE
What I'd Like To See: If Ivory can get some good carries while hanging onto the ball and get some good work in this game, or can Travaris Cadet usurp Tusk's role as the # 4 running back on the team with an actual breakout performance in the running game, not the screen game, not the return game, but the running game.
What I Saw: Chris Ivory carried 10 times for 43 yards, while Cadet rushed 3 times for 28 yards. Even though Cadet contributed in other phases (5 receptions for 62 yards, 3 KO returns for 85 yards, and one punt return for one yard), It'd be a stretch to say he had a breakout running performance, much less enough to usurp Tusk. Since I waffled so much in my set-up, even though neither of them really gained an edge, I'll bet that the tie goes to the incumbent eventually, but right now, this is a wash and the score is Hot Read: Achieved.
* * *
Now that I've said my piece on this piece, it's your turn to get your two cents in about it. I'll meet you in the comment section. My take on these grades is that while they are fun to do, they are about as useful and informative as preseason final scores (which is not much).