The New Orleans Saints, in the first game in Caesars Superdome history, defeat rookie Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-21. A quarterback battle was seemingly won, some positions looking worse than hoped, some looks exactly as expected and some even look better than fans had expected. Continuing a series from Maddy Hudak last year, let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly from this game.
The Jameis Winston and Marquez Callaway connection
Two positions on the depth chart seemed to have been solidified during tonight’s game. Jameis Winston and Marquez Callaway connected on two BEAUTIFUL touchdown passes from Winston and two SPECTACULAR catches by Callaway.
Now, outside of these throws, Jameis Winston was still 7/8 for 51 yards. Winston showed good game management and awareness on the field. He looked poised in the pocket and went through his progressions well. I really don’t know what else fans or the coaching staff could want to see from Winston. Jameis looks ready to unlock a part of the offense that Saints fans haven’t seen for years. Jameis’ first TD pass on the night traveled 53.3 yards, which according to ESPN Stats and Info, was the longest on a Saints passing TD since 2016. The coaching staff and Sean Payton in particular has to be happy about the prospect of adding that back into the wheelhouse of this offense. Especially with threats such as Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris and Tre’Quan Smith on the team.
Speaking of Marquez Callaway, he seemed to be ready to take on the Saints WR 2 role with ease (WR 1 until Michael Thomas returns.) He looked good on his routes, good with his hands and has good chemistry with the now assumed starting QB. Those two touchdown catches were definitely fun, but he seems to have the fundamentals to be a reliable option on all three downs. Plus, how cool does he look in that #1 jersey.
I think the DBs have their swagger back
Fans have been asking for upgrades in the secondary all offseason, they were given a Ken Crawley reunion and Paulson Adebo. For a while, the feeling has been that it wasn’t enough. Tonight, however, their play along with the energy given by Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has given new life to this secondary. We saw multiple deep passes broken up and defended well without a PI call, it felt wonderful.
Both Crawley and Adebo have had stellar camps that have been backed up by their in-game performances two games into the preseason. A fully healthy and not suspended Saints secondary could potentially be very scary this year if everything keeps up.
Offensive Line Depth
This could be both bad and ugly, but either way it’s downright disappointing. As soon as the second team OL came in, it got bad FAST. Pressure on what felt like every snap, not allowing Taysom to ever get any kind of rhythm. There was hope for improved depth in the OL, with multiple returning veterans, but as of now it’s looking like one of the weakest points on the team.
A couple of injuries
The Saints saw a couple of players fall to injuries and one in particular is scary. Adam Trautman left the game with an ankle injury, and while the initial X-Rays are negative, the TE position is scarily thin for the Saints. Don’t get me wrong Juwan Johnson has looked awesome, but Trautman’s loss as a potential double threat TE would not be easily replaced by someone already on the roster.
Taysom Hill’s birthday
Today, Taysom Hill turned 31. It also seems that today was the day that he lost the QB battle. It was also in the fashion that it all happened. Jameis Winston gets the start and then comes out with a near perfect performance with two pretty long balls. Taysom comes in and has the second team OL come in and provide no protection.
Did we ever get a answer to the age old question of whose a better QB- Taysom Hill or Lamar Jackson? pic.twitter.com/Ytg3NUFfIy— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) August 24, 2021
Even on the snaps that he had protection, he held on too long. All around, outside of a good touchdown throw to Lil’Jordan Humphrey, it was just not a great game to have on a birthday.
There was a lot more good about this game than anything else and that’s something that should be celebrated! It was a fun night all around and Saints twitter seems to be in full swing. This season will be one to remember, no matter what.
What stuck out to you last night? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @DillySanders.