The New Orleans Saints are set to kick off their preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and head coach Dennis Allen said in his post practice press conference today that the Saints starters will indeed play to open the preseason.
DA said he expects to play the starters in the first preseason game— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) August 7, 2023
Depending on the team, some veterans won’t see the field until their Week 1 regular season contest, but Dennis Allen is adamant about getting his starters some playing time before the regular season kickoff against the Tennessee Titans.
All eyes will be on newcomer Derek Carr and how he commands the offense during the first few drives of the game, and rightfully so. This is Carr’s first year in New Orleans and the first time that Saints fans have felt really good about their QB1 heading into the season since Brees’ retirement.
Along with Carr, fans will get their first look at free agent signees Jamaal Williams, Nathan Shephard and Khalen Sanders in a Saints uniform. We’ll also get to see Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Alvin Kamara and Jimmy Graham get their first reps with Carr in a game environment.
On the defensive side of the ball, one of the best battles to watch will be on the outside with Alontae Taylor and Paulson Adebo fighting for the cornerback two spot. Both players had exceptional rookie seasons (Adebo in 2021 and Taylor in 2022) and will be doing everything they to earn the CB2 spot.
Once the starters come out, many people will turn the game off but there are so many interesting storylines that go much deeper than the starters. All of the rookies from this year's class should get their first NFL action. Bryan Bresee, Isaiah Foskey, Kendre Miller, Jake Haener, Jordan Howden, Nick Saldivari and A.T. Perry all should hear their name called for the first time on Sunday. While some (Haener, Saldivari, Howden, Miller and Perry) will likely not be fighting for the starting job, they’ll be fighting to earn rotational snaps in their rookie seasons.
Another position battle that has taken place during camp and will continue into the preseason involves the wide receivers. We all know Michael Thomas, Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are locks to make the 53-man roster, but that leaves three spots open for the rest of the room. Tre’Quan Smith has been with the team for years and will likely earn a spot on the roster, but he’s got a lot of talent he’ll have to beat out. James Washington, A.T. Perry, Keke Coutee, Bryan Edwards, Keith Kirkwood, Kawaan Baker, Shaq Davis and Lynn Bowden will all be fighting for those last 2-3 spots in the WR room and there will be a lot of talent leftover after they trim the roster to 53.
Some other notable players that will put on a Saints uniform for the first time on Sunday include Foster Moreau, Lonnie Johnson, Jonathan Abram and potentially Kareem Hunt and Anthony Barr, depending on how their workouts with the team go.
There are a lot of storylines to watch for in the Saints preseason opener, so make sure that you keep watching even once the starters come out.
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 YouTube channel. Follow my personal page @clukehubbard for more!