S Pierre Warren: The second-year safety made a costly mistake, blowing coverage on a 77-yard touchdown pass when he took a poor angle. But for a guy on the bubble like Warren, special teams matter most. And he made two fantastic efforts on the same play to both force and recover a fumble in punt coverage (though it was overturned by an unrelated penalty). Warren also made a great diving tackle to prevent a big gain on defense. The net result? I’m penciling Warren onto my projected roster, which will publish Friday morning.
OLB Davis Tull: I was already planning to add Tull to my projected roster in the wake of injuries to Anthony Spencer and Ronald Powell. But he left no doubt about it Thursday by partially blocking a punt and flashing his speed on a sack (that was also overturned by an illegal contact penalty on Saints cornerback Kyle Wilson).
DE Bobby Richardson: It was a bad sign for the undrafted rookie that he didn’t play with the starting unit (while veteran Parys Haralson and rookies Tyeler Davison, Tavaris Barnes and Ashaad Mabry did). But Richardson made a strong impression when he got in the game with a terrific run stuff and a forced holding penalty. He later had a “cheap” sack (touching down scrambling QB Brett Hundley) and missed out on an “almost” sack when he let Hundley slip from his grasp.
NOT LOOKING GOOD:
WR Joe Morgan: Even before Thursday’s game, I was leaning slightly toward veteran receiver Josh Morgan ahead of Joe in the close battle for that blocking-specialist receiver role. Then Josh entered the game first as the third receiver Thursday. Then Joe struggled with a fumble (that he recovered), a contested deep ball that he failed to reel in and a bad drop that bounced in the air and was intercepted. The Saints can look past one bad game if they like what Joe has done all summer. But if this game was the tie-breaker, he’s in trouble.
CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste: I think I’m going to keep Jean-Baptiste on my projected roster since the Saints have depth issues at cornerback, and they probably don’t want to give up on their 2014 second-round pick yet. But, boy, did he have a rough outing. He got beat on a 77-yard touchdown pass and slipped during a 3-yard TD pass. He also got flagged for the special teams penalty for running out of bounds -- though that wasn’t an egregious error.
A LITTLE OF BOTH:
CB Kyle Wilson: The veteran made perhaps the best play of the night, jumping a route for a first-quarter interception. But he later committed a contact penalty that nullified a sack. And he was part of a defensive breakdown that led to a fourth-and-2 TD pass when he and Brian Dixon both covered the same guy. Wilson has been up and down like that all summer. The Saints’ injury issues at cornerback might save him, though.
K Dustin Hopkins: A good sign: He got to attempt both of the Saints’ field goals in what felt like a final test to clinch the job. A bad sign: He missed a 53-yarder, pushing it slightly wide right. It’s still too close to call between him and Zach Hocker.