Beginning a series we’ll integrate this season, let’s look over some numbers and what stood out the most.
Obviously, most of the team’s starters sat out the preseason opener. HC Dennis Allen wasn’t thrilled about his team’s overall performance Saturday night in the game, but he was encouraged by the limited work of his starters on both sides of the ball. ‘’I saw a lot of things I really liked out there,’’ Allen said. ‘’There are some things we’ve got to get cleaned up.
Andy Dalton went 5/5 for 51 yards and a TD in his only possession. Dalton looked like the proven vet we hoped to see in that small sample size. Fans expect a CPOY-type season from Jameis Winston, but Dalton could very well be the best insurance policy you could ask for from a backup QB in the league. ‘’He did a nice job moving us down the field,’’ Allen said. ‘’I thought he operated in the pocket well.”
RB Abram Smith led the team with 30 rushing yards on seven carries. Smith looked great up until his fumble towards the end of the game. Smith along with Tony Jones Jr. will probably be battling it out for that RB3 spot on the roster.
First-round pick Chris Olave had one catch for four yards, in just 15 snaps. Nothing to think too much into as again, the starters that did suit up weren’t in full gear at all.
First-round OT Trevor Penning graded 96.4 in run-blocking (via PFF) as that’s notably been his biggest strength since college. He had some struggles here and there in pass protection but expect him to sharpen up in due time.
Defensively, New Orleans forced two three-and-outs and allowed just 33 yards in each of the first quarter and third quarter.
LB Chase Hansen showed tons of promise to give the Saints some depth at linebacker - Leading the team with six tackles, including two for losses, and returned an interception 44 yards to set up a field goal in the second quarter.
Starters Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Paulson Adebo and Marcus Maye all played 11 snaps or less. We’ll get a way better idea of the secondary’s chemistry in the upcoming weeks.
The Texans didn’t convert a third down until the third quarter and finished 3-of-12 (25%) on third down, while New Orleans converted 6-of-14 (42.9%) third-down attempts.
New Orleans ultimately lost 17-13. The New Orleans Saints return to action on Friday, Aug. 19 when they play the Packers at Lambeau Field following two days of joint practices. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. CST. The game will be aired regionally on the Gray Television network of stations in the Gulf Coast (WVUE FOX 8 in the New Orleans area).