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Saints training camp: 5 questions we want answered

Training camp is right around the corner for the black and gold, and here’s a few questions to ponder.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Minicamp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

We’re less than two weeks away from when the New Orleans Saints kick off training camp, which starts with the rookies reporting on July 18th and veterans joining them on July 25th. While this period of waiting figures to be painful (or a relief to some), we can’t help but wonder a few things when camp kicks off. Here’s a few questions you may or may not have for the black and gold.

Who will distance themselves in the backup quarterback race?

Drew Brees, who turned 39 in January, enters as the unquestioned leader and starter for the Saints offense in 2018. While that comes as no shock to anyone, the biggest question many are asking is who will be the backup to Brees? With the strong play of Brees, it has always made me a strong advocate of not having more than two quarterbacks on the roster. Last season was quite the anomaly due to the emergence of Taysom Hill, who became a key part of the special teams.

While Hill might be an early favorite to land the backup role, he’ll have to keep fending off free agent pickup Tom Savage. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett has shown some promise, but he’s also shown that he’s a rookie and still has some learning to do. A good camp from Barrett could make things interesting, but this battle should come down to Savage vs. Hill.

Which running back will get dibs behind Alvin Kamara?

With Mark Ingram set to serve his four-game suspension to open the season, it should be the Alvin Kamara show. That in itself will be interesting to see, but the one-two punch Ingram and Kamara gave the Saints offense in 2017 was quite a spectacle. The thought of Kamara handling 20-25 carries per game doesn’t sound too appealing unless you’re a fantasy football player that owns him.

This opens the door for the likes of Jonathan Williams, Trey Edmunds, Boston Scott, and potentially the recently added Terrance West to claim some playing time in the backfield. Out of the bunch, West’s veteran experience could help him in this battle, but only time will tell. Edmunds and Williams were both on last year’s squad, and Scott has had some early flashes that give him buzz for making everyone’s way too early 53-man roster predictions.

The portions are there for the taking, and there’s a good chance that at least three of these backs make it to Week 1.

Who will be this year’s camp hero?

Corey Fuller, Darius Victor, and Adam Bighill were just some of the names to make noise in training camp sessions last season, but that is almost meaningless. It’s fun to see it happen, because a player goes from having little to no shot to make the roster to jumping on final roster predictions because of practice. There’s nothing wrong with calling out hard work, but pumping the brakes on a player from being a training camp sensation would be advised. See how they perform in real-time game situations before buying into the hype.

How much impact will Marcus Davenport have?

The buzz is real when it comes to the team’s first rounder. Davenport downplayed the minor procedure on his thumb he was set to have at the conclusion of mini camp, and was still out there making plays and participating if you needed any reassurance. Davenport has had some real tests facing left tackle Terron Armstead, which has only made him get better.

Unlike other seasons, the Saints are pretty stacked at defensive end. At least it sounds promising on the surface with Cameron Jordan set as one bookend and Alex Okafor, Trey Hendrickson, and Davenport opposite of him with Al-Quadin Muhammad and George Johnson in the conversation.

When will we see some key staples return to action?

New Orleans is facing a few concerns for their roster when it comes to training camp. Perhaps the most glaring would be left guard Andrus Peat, who is said to be on track for a camp return. In case you forgot, Peat exited the playoffs in a horrible fashion after breaking his fibula against the Panthers in the Wild Card Round, and in turn had to have surgery.

Peat is just one example the Saints have, as other players like Alex Okafor (Achilles), Cameron Meredith (ACL), Cam Jordan (foot), and Trey Hendrickson (undisclosed) are ones to watch out for. For anyone worried, Marcus Davenport (thumb) seems like he’ll be just fine.