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Aug

20

A flash for 6 and a pressuring D snap 10-game preseason skid

By Gus Kattengell

The Saints snapped their 10-game preseason-losing streak by holding on to a 13-7 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night.

It may be just preseason but the win and how it was won has to have Who Dats feeling better on a Monday. RB Alvin Kamara got things going on the first play of the game as he would scamper for a 50-yard touchdown.

The defense continued to impress and more importantly despite the game getting close t the end the Saints found a way to finally win.

QUICK THOUGHTS

First thought is that this is a much-needed win for the Saints. Head coach Sean Payton alluded to it in the post game presser that the trip out west hadn’t exactly been a good one. In the only padded practice against he Chargers, the Saints by many accounts got whooped and Payton called for them to respond on Friday. Coach Sunday night said it was something he was looking for, to see if his team would meet the challenge of coming back with more energy.

I have been in locker rooms for at least 12 years professionally and collegiately. There is a very big difference in being in one that wins and one that doesn’t. Yes It’s preseason but not winning in the exhibition portion and then not really doing much winning in the regular season portion weighs on you. These guys put in a lot of time and sweat before they get to game day. You want to win. You want to feel good about your self and feel like you’re a part of something successful.

Could it be the Black and Gold may actually be able to stop some offenses this season from having career games? The Saints defense recorded 13 tackles for loss and picked up 8 sacks on the night. ManTai Te’o, A.J. Klein, Craig Robertson, Kenny Vaccaro, Obum Gawcham, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Alex Okafor, Ashaad Mabry and Sheldon Rankins made up those plays.

In two games the defense has 12 sacks, and yes I know it’s the preseason but that side of the ball hasn’t sacked anything but air the last couple of preseasons. Add an interception from LB Adam Bighill and the Saints defense actually has looked like a defense this preseason.

Defensively the Saints continue to show improvement, as you have to be impressed that once again DE Cam Jordan had the night off and still the opposing quarterback was pressured. The group of linebackers seems to not only be playing well but communication well with one another. It’s not often you see them out of position and unable to make plays, and that is something that has sorely been lacking.

Offensively it was another game and an yet another example of how wide the gap is between QB Drew Brees and everyone else. QB Garrett Grayson received second team snaps a week ago and watched Ryan Nassib get those as he came in after Chase Daniel. Daniel who started in place of Drew Brees will be able to run the offense if Brees can’t play. Let’s not mistake this, if Brees goes down it’s over. Oh and Brees’ successor is definitely not currently on this team.

GAME BALL

RB ALVIN KAMARA: Look the entire defense or certain members of the defense can get the game ball. I’m going with the rookie running back because in the short amount of minutes he’s played NFL football think about what he’s done.

Game one he break a run and give a Cleveland Browns defender a concussion as a reward for trying to tackle him and a few plays later breaks what looks like a sure tackle at the line of scrimmage and bounces it outside for a big gain and a first down.

Game two it took all of one play to upstage that with a 50 yard flash of a run on the left side for a touchdown where he showed initial patience, knowledge of play as he knew where the blocks of Ryan Ramczyk and Andrus Peat would be, and then vision as dodged a diving Charger player before turning on the jets to score. It would be the only touchdown of the game for the Saints. The play jumpstarted the team and had many on social media play Saints General Manager in insisting it was time to trade RB Mark Ingram. The Back caught a pass for 22 yards and ended up with 5 carries for 61 yards.

This backfield will be interesting to watch this season. We’ve yet to see Peterson although in practice he looks like he still has some life in his legs. If AP plays anything like the NFL’s leading rusher version, what does Ingram have to do to get touches? I say that because how do you NOT give Kamara touches. The kid is electric and is the type of complete back that I frankly can’t recall the team having in the Payton era at least.

ATTA BOY

LB MANTI TE’O: Returning to the team that drafted him, the free agent pick up was impressive as he showed the type of energy and play that is much needed on the Saints defense. Te’o led the team in tackles with nine tackles, seven of them being solo to go with a sack and three of those nine were for a loss. I’ll admit it. When the team signed him I chuckled and thought it was at best a move to add depth, maybe. Te’o seems however to be a player that not only will play a role this season but maybe even a key role with starter type snaps.

HAVE A SEAT SON, WE NEED TO TALK

CB DAMIAN SWANN: The Saints picked up their sixth sack of the night from Craig Robertson. The play resulted in the Bolts having to convert on 3rd and 23 and assisting that cause was Swann who was called for pass interference. FIRST DOWN CHARGERS! Head Coach Sean Payton absolutely and rightfully so blows a gasket on plays that turn a punt into an extension to a possession. Swann hasn’t looked particularly well at practice and a play like that may have former 5th round pick in trouble.

UP NEXT

The Saints will play their first home game of the new season next Saturday as they welcome the Houston Texans to town. Before that both teams will hold joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday as the Saints training facility.

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