Thursday’s preseason opener went fairly well for the New Orleans Saints, as they were able to rally in the second half and hold on to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20. Exhibition action may not typically see the main stars in action, but it’s a great chance for roster hopefuls to make their case for the 53-man roster.
Here’s a look at the team’s snap counts from Thursday — which involves a lot of players. (Note: All data is provided by the NFL)
Offense - Top 5
- Tre’Quan Smith (46), Michael Ola (41), Will Clapp (40), Keith Kirkwood (33), Jermon Bushrod (33), Landon Turner (33)
Offense - The Rest
- Andrew Tiller (29), Taysom Hill (27), Tom Savage (27), Josh Huff (23), Shane Vereen (23), Max Unger (23), Josh LeRibeus (21), Ryan Ramczyk (21), Larry Warford (21), Terron Armstead (21), Michael Thomas (20), Josh Hill (19), Ted Ginn Jr. (19), Don Barclay (17), Deon Yelder (16), Dan Arnold (15), Garrett Griffin (13), Trey Edmunds (12), John Phillips (11), Mark Ingram (11), Alvin Kamara (10), Terrance West (10), Brandon Tate (8), Rick Leonard (8), J.T. Barrett (8), Zach Line (7), Michael Floyd (6), Boston Scott (4), Jonathan Williams (4), Devaroe Lawrence (1), Nathan Stupar (1)
Clearly, the Saints didn’t put Drew Brees in the lineup, and there were several players missing like Benjamin Watson, Michael Hoomanawanui, Andrus Peat, and Cameron Meredith. They’re ones to watch over the next week to see if they return to action.
Winners: Tre’Quan Smith made a good first impression for the team on offense, hauling in 4 receptions for 48 yards on 5 targets. Jonathan Williams entered action in the 4th quarter and made all of his reps count, carrying the ball 4 times for 26 yards and a score.
Honorable Mentions: The Taysom Hill hype train was in full effect, but I don’t believe he did anything so outstanding that would definitively say he surpassed Tom Savage. Dan Arnold and Keith Kirkwood caught both of their targets respectfully.
Losers: Veterans Shane Vereen and Terrance West weren’t all that impressive running the ball on the night, and J.T. Barrett missed a wide open receiver for a would-be touchdown.
Defense - Top 5
- Colton Jumper (33), Ken Crawley (28), Marcus Williams (27), Marshon Lattimore (27), A.J. Klein (27), Kurt Coleman (27), Demario Davis (27)
Defense - The Rest
- Chris Banjo (26), Craig Robertson (26), Vonn Bell (26), Al-Quadin Muhammad (26), Hau’oli Kikaha (26), Mitchell Loewen (24), Alex Jenkins (24), Justin Hardee (23), George Johnson (23), Patrick Robinson (22), Alex Anzalone (22), Devaroe Lawrence (22), Jay Bromley (21), P.J. Williams (19), Taylor Stallworth (19), Arthur Maulet (18), Natrell Jamerson (18), Henry Mondeaux (18), J.T. Gray (17), Nate Stupar (17), Sharrod Neasman (17), Trey Hendrickson (17), Sheldon Rankins (17), Jayrone Elliott (16), David Onyemata (16), Linden Stephens (15), Tyeler Davison (14), Woodrow Hamilton (12), De’Vante Harris (11), Nate Wozniak (1)
Dennis Allen rolled with Trey Hendrickson and Al-Quadin Muhammad at starting defensive end on the night, giving Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor the night off. Obviously, there was no Marcus Davenport, but we should see him in due time.
Winners: Mitchell Loewen showed a lot of good stuff on the night to help remind fans why he made the team last year. David Onyemata and Sheldon Rankins had some good interior rushes and pressures generated early on. Jayrone Elliott and Devaroe Lawrence likely stole the show with their sacks.
Honorable Mentions: I liked some of the coverage that Arthur Maulet and Justin Hardee had on the night. These two are not just out to be special teams gunners in 2018, and Maulet in particular had a really nice pass breakup on a deep ball.
Losers: Colton Jumper didn’t have a good night whatsoever, and the penalty Henry Mondeaux received on a play where the defense would have got off the field is sure to irritate Sean Payton. The other elephant in the room would be De’Vante Harris, who channeled his inner Brandon Browner on the night with two holding calls on a single drive.