Most of the New Orleans Saints' starters took the night off in Thursday’s 38-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers in their preseason finale. But they still got a chance to show off two of their breakout stars of the summer -- receivers Brandon Coleman and Willie Snead.
Coleman broke open deep for a 45-yard catch on the Saints’ first play from scrimmage and finished with four catches for 82 yards. Snead also got the starting nod for the Saints and finished their first drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass.
New Orleans actually led 10-0 before the wheels fell off.
One Reason to Freak Out: It’s a good thing for the Saints that their top four cornerbacks weren’t playing in this game (Keenan Lewis, Brandon Browner, Delvin Breaux and Damian Swann). But the depth behind them is awfully disconcerting -- especially since Lewis will reportedly miss 4-6 weeks after hip surgery and Browner is questionable for Week 1.
Veteran cornerback Kyle Wilson made a great play for a first-half interception. But Wilson, Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Brian Dixon all appeared to have some coverage breakdowns and/or penalty problems as the game went on. Jean-Baptiste, in particular, lost coverage during two TD plays, slipping once in the end zone. His roster spot could be in jeopardy.
A Player Who Looks Amazing: Coleman finally showed in a preseason game why he’s earned so much hype in practice all summer. I thought his best catch was actually a 9-yarder in the second quarter, in which he used his big 6-foot-6 frame to shield a defender and extend for the catch. He seems to have cemented his role as New Orleans’ No. 3 receiver.
WR Depth Chart: It's still wide open behind the top 3 of Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston and Coleman. Snead made another strong case to make the roster. But veteran receiver Joe Morgan had a rough night, capped by a dropped pass that popped into the air for an interception. I think either Joe Morgan or Josh Morgan will make the Saints’ roster because they’re the two best blockers in the bunch. But I think there’s only room for one of them -- and I have Josh slightly ahead after he entered the game first Thursday, followed by Joe’s struggles.
QB Depth Chart: Veteran Luke McCown entered the game first, led the Saints on a touchdown drive and called it a night. Ryan Griffin played decently for the rest of the first half, but it seems like a foregone conclusion that McCown will be the backup this year. Rookie Garrett Grayson struggled in the second half with two interceptions (only one his fault). He’s basically slated for a redshirt season, regardless.
Kicker Depth Chart: Dustin Hopkins blew his chance to nail down the Saints’ kicker job when he pushed a 53-yard field goal attempt slightly to the right in the second half. I think the job was Hopkins’ to lose -- especially since he got to attempt both of the Saints’ field goals in the first and second half. But he left the door open for fellow youngster Zach Hocker, who made a 53-yarder last week. It’s still way too close to call -- maybe even in the Saints’ eyes.
Maybe That Dude Could Start: Second-year outside linebacker Kasim Edebali flashed more than anyone else on the Saints’ starting defense throughout the first half. I still think rookie Hau’oli Kikaha will start ahead of him (a good sign for Kikaha that he got to rest with all of the other starters). But Edebali has earned his way into the rotation.
Who Got Hurt? There were no significant injuries that I was aware of -- one of the few bright spots for a game that turned so ugly.
Rookie Watch: Three rookies -- linebackers Stephone Anthony and Kikaha and nickel cornerback Swann -- got the night off, a great sign since they’ll likely start next week. Top draft choice Andrus Peat, meanwhile, played a ton of snaps as he has throughout this preseason while working his way into shape. I thought Peat seemed to hold up very well throughout the night. He won’t start this year, but his arrow has continued to point up.
Ugly Month: The Saints finished 0-4 in the preseason -- their first winless summer since 1971. It’s a little misleading since they played great while taking a 21-0 lead over the New England Patriots two weeks ago. Still, the inability to finish will frustrate coaches.