The week we have all been waiting for is upon us, Saints fans. Kickoff is this Sunday. The team has been training hard for their Week One match-up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are some takeaways from training camp.
Entering possibly his final season wearing the black and gold, veteran quarterback Drew Brees is looking just as electric as he did on the day the team signed him back in 2006. His movement in the pocket is still top-notch, and his accuracy is still remarkable.
Some are questioning what newly acquired wideout Emanuel Sanders’ role will look like in this high-powered offense. Brees was asked in a media availability how he thought Sanders was fitting into the offense.
“He’s a pro,” he said. “There’s a veteran presence. He has a mature nature in the way he goes about his work and his business. He will add a great element to what we do. Every day, we are continuing to get on the same page.”
A major takeaway from camp is that first-round pick Cesar Ruiz will start Week One at center over Eric McCoy. McCoy, a second-year pro, will be playing guard for the home opener against the Buccaneers. There is no doubt that we will see both of these players switch positions as the season progresses until one takes a strong hold over the center spot.
With the cancellation of the preseason, many unproven players will not be able to demonstrate their talent.
Seventh-round pick Tommy Stevens, quarterback out of Mississippi State, will suffer immensely without the preseason. He was among multiple players cut from the team to get to the 53-man roster. Lucky enough for the Saints, he passed all waivers and was signed to the practice squad. Stevens has been seeing playing time during training camp at the tight end position. He has a very similar playing style to Taysom Hill and could fill the role as the so called “swiss army knife” once Hill is ready to take a larger role at the quarterback position.
PJ Williams has been seen playing at the slot cornerback position and thriving at it. On the opening day of camp, Williams forced two turnovers, while applying lockdown coverage throughout the day. There is no secret that the Saints need help in the secondary, alongside Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins. Williams could be the depth the team has been looking for.
For the Saints to finally make it back to the big game, the team needs the defense to create turnovers. As the old saying goes, “defense wins championships.”
Yes, the Saints have had misfortunes the past couple seasons on their way out the playoffs, but let's not dwell on that. It's a new year with a couple new additions. So let’s all cross our fingers while we say one more time: This is the Saints’ year.