It may be the preseason, but the New Orleans Saints are back with football this weekend so we are back again with the Interview with the Enemy series. This week, Kenneth Levy of Battle Red Blog answers 5 quick questions before the Saints’ first preseason game of the 2022 season: facing the Houston Texans on the road in the “Battle of the Gulf.”
What is the general sense among the Houston faithful? Are spirits high after shipping off Deshaun Watson?
Every person you ask will have a different opinion. When he requested a trade before the news came out, every fan was heartbroken but completely on his side. Then when the news came out, disgusted. We were satisfied with the trade package we received, especially considering the trades made in the Bill O’Brien era, but there was a sense that there was a little left on the bone when comparing it to the Russell Wilson trade. We are happy that he isn’t our problem any more, but overall it’s just a bad situation and no one wins. Even us; we lost the prodigal QB we’d been waiting 20 years for.
What roster battles will you be watching during this game?
Running back is an ultra-popular one because no one knows who will win the job. We even could have a fullback don the roster.
Linebacker is extremely deep as vets have flocked to be in Lovie Smith’s system. We had several surprisingly good performances from veterans last year and could have a couple young guys step in.
Pass rusher. This was the biggest hole not addressed in the draft. Who will rush across from Jonathan Greenard is a mystery with a handful of well-aged veterans as the primary suspects.
Then Wide Receiver is a scramble with the loss of John Metchie III. We think second-year Nico Collins should be a strong player for us but outside of him and Brandin Cooks we have no idea who can catch passes.
Any under-the-radar Texans players you think Saints fans should be keeping an eye on?
I’ll mention him again - Nico Collins. He was among the most productive rookie receivers last year and has been receiving hype in training camp. He’s a long, tall, and handsy receiver who is a possession-based guy with enough speed to get some separation. I’d also say Brevin Jordan our second year tight end could be a fantasy stash. He’ll play A TON in this new offensive system and is a great personality off the field too.
4. Is there any indication how many Texans starters will be playing this week?
Offense should roll out the starters for a significant portion of the game. Maybe less the offensive line, but the skill positions alllllllllllll need to compete for starting jobs. Also Davis “long neck” Mills will need as many reps as possible. Defense, well considering this is Lovie Smith’s team we could see a rotation as early as the first quarter. We need to see the rookies a ton, but outside of that we have a lot of veterans (from other teams) who will only play two-three drives.
I know it’s just the preseason, but just for fun - what’s your prediction for the final score? If any of the Texans starters face any of the Saints starters, how do you expect those units to fare?
Look, this is a rebuilding year of rebuilding year for us. We’re just going to have fun, be Millennial parents, and not look at the scoreboard okay? Honestly though, and don’t shoot the messenger here, I think the Saints roster is old and over-rated. Your offense will crush our defense, that’s for certain, but I’m not tooooo sure about your defense. Davenport has been a bust, your defensive line is as deep as a puddle, and your secondary is good but vulnerable deep. I’m sure they’ll hold up against our boys, but sorry y’all if your crawfish boil runs out late in the season.
Olave will be a good addition to the offense and an elite WR3. I’m not too high on Trevor Penning as I think his ceiling is lower than you think.
Score? Ugh thought I almost skirted the subject. I’ll say 24-17 Saints led by a horrific 3rd quarter for the Texans AND native Houstonian Andy Dalton kick starting a QB battle prime for an annoying hot take session on ESPN.
Hope the Battle of The Gulf is a good one and we’ll see y’all next preseason as always.
Thank-you, Kenneth, for taking the time to answer our questions. Saints fans, make sure you check out Kenneth and the work his guys are doing over at Battle Red Blog. You can follow Battle Red Blog on Twitter @battleredblog, and of course you can follow me @ChrisDunnells.