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Game Recap: Saints vs. Chiefs

The starters looked strong in their first preseason action.

NFL: Preseason-Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

In the New Orleans Saints first game action of the 2023 season, there was a lot to like especially from their starting lineups.

On the offensive side of the ball, Derek Carr looked extremely comfortable and efficient in his drive as a Saint. He completed 6 of his 8 attempts (one drop from Olave) for 70 yards and a TD. He spread the ball all over the field hitting four different receivers to complete an 80-yard scoring drive. He moved exceptionally well in the pocket and did a great job of maneuvering his way through pressure. Just an excellent all-around job by the veteran.

Juwan Johnson was active immediately on the first drive catches 2 passes for 29 yards. He and Carr seem to have a good connection brewing. The same can be said about Alvin Kamara who looked very explosive running the ball and in the receiving game.

The offensive line looked great as well in both the running and passing game.

The first team defense also made their presence known against the defending Super Bowl champs. The team limited Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to a short 6-play drive ending in a punt. The front seven stuffed a TE sneak (?) on a 4th and 1 to give their offense the ball back. The interior pass rush looked good at times with some good rushes by Bresee and Khalen Saunders. Nothing was given up in the secondary as all 15 of Mahomes’ yards were to Edwards-Helaire out the back field. The run defense was solid as well, something that dropped off a bit last season. This play was continued the following drive where they forced a quick three and out.

There were some standouts in the 2nd and 3rd team squads as well but none bigger than 6th round pick A.T. Perry. A.T. Perry stole the show on offense with the twos as he caught 6 of his 6 targets for 70 yards and a touchdown. He was very smooth in his coming out of his breaks and made some really nice catches in tight coverage. With no other receiver doing much of anything in those groups, Perry may have even made the roster as the teams 4th or 5th guy already.

With all the good, there were some disappointing performances from players we expected to make some noise.

Alontae Taylor played a decent number of snaps in the slot where he did not look so great. Taylor got beat by Richie James on a seam route for 43 yards, which was followed by giving up a touchdown to James on what looked like a big of confusion between he and Bradley Roby on a switch concept. Not a good look for someone who is very much in the running for the CB2 role.

Jake Haener was another player we were expecting to make some plays as he’s had such a great camp but just looked very poor in his first NFL action. He was inaccurate on his throws and didn’t seem very comfortable in the pocket. Another example of how games can prove much different than what you do in camp.

Other notes:

  • LBs Nephew Sewell, Demarco Jackson and Ryan Connelly all did some good things
  • Payton Turner had some good rushes at times
  • Ugo Amadi made some plays, a few PBUs and a pick
  • Ellis Merriweather ran the ball effectively
  • Trevor Penning did Trevor Penning things
  • The second team offensive line did not look good
  • Jontre Kirklin did well returning kicks
  • Jimmy Graham received a welcoming fan reaction with his first catch

The Saints will be heading to L.A. this week to hold joint practices with the Chargers in preparation for their matchup next Sunday. We look forward to seeing more positive results from this team in the next few weeks. For now, so far so good.

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