Derek Carr is starting his stint with the Saints with a warm welcome from past division foes. This past week with a great start against his rival Chiefs and is now headed to Los Angeles to play the Chargers. The Saints' first and second units looked great in week one, but can they do the same against another talented team with a different scheme on both sides of the ball? Here are the 5 biggest questions heading into preseason week two.
How much will the starters play in Week 2?
Pete Carmichael when talking to NewOrleans Football said they were going to wait and see about the starters in Week 1 depending on how the first drive went. It was a long TD drive, so it was all they wanted to see. I’d expect the same in week two, 15 or so plays or one long drive.
Are any of the camp battles clearing up?
The battle for LG and boundary CB is looking clearer. James Hurst looked really solid when he started at LG and his availability and versatility is something the team likes. His competition is not currently on the field so as far as I'm concerned, it’s Hurst’s job to lose. At CB Paulsen Adebo looked like his old self in week one and has been all-around solid in camp. Taylor has big expectations for the season but hasn’t had the best camp and struggled in preseason week one getting beat on a deep ball and some miscommunication in the red zone that led to a TD. It still looks like its Adebo’s job to lose.
Who is a dark horse to make the roster?
A long shot is LB Anfernee Orji, who graded out very well in the first game against the Chiefs. The competition at LB behind Demario Davis and Pete Werner is wide open and for the taking. Also, not really a dark horse but maybe an unexpected player to make the team is Keith Kirkwood, he's made the team before, but they are much deeper at the position now. Kirkwood has been working with Carr all offseason and Carr even praised the wideout after the game about his work ethic. Kirkwood was able to polish off a great drive with the starters with a TD.
Highest graded defensive rookies from Preseason Week 1— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 15, 2023
(Minimum 15 Snaps) pic.twitter.com/dQyhWJ4jRD
Why do the Saints need so many running backs?
This offseason, the New Orleans Saints signed RB Jamaal Williams and drafted RB Kendre Miller in the third round to create a three-headed monster in the backfield. But in a surprising development, the Saints brought in RB Kareem Hunt and were close to signing him before he ultimately left for more money. The Saints now bring him former LSU Tiger and Superbowl champion Darrel Williams. The Saints now have at least four running backs who can carry a load on any given Sunday, but why? The emphasis is to be better in the run game, last season it struggled immensely. Kamara will be out the first three weeks and Kendre Miller just sustained an injury that will keep him out a couple of weeks but sounds like he's good to go. We are just seeing a new philosophy in New Orleans. Bring in talented depth because... why not?
How do the Saints stack up against the NFC South?
The Panthers and Bucs have both been spotlighted in Hard Knocks vs the Jets and didn’t turn out well for them. The Panthers struggled in week one getting pushed around 27-0. The Bucs lost to the Steelers in week one and are getting a good taste of the Jets in joint practices this week. The Falcons are the dark horse for me, it is yet to be soon if their three-headed backfield can carry their offense with a big question mark at QB. It is fair to say the Saints are the leader in the NFC South right now.