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Kristian Garic: 5 things I want to see in Saints OTAs

Kristian Garic
May 23, 2019 - 1:34 am
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The media gets their first look at the 2019 Saints in Organized Team Activities.  On paper this squad is better than the 2018 version that ended with heartbreak in the NFC conference title game.  We’ll just leave it at that.  Some new faces were added this off-season via the NFL Draft and free agency.  Newcomers such as tight end Jarred Cook, and defensive tackle Malcolm Brown are free agency acquisitions.  Center Erik McCoy was selected in the second round of the draft.  All three have been infused into a very talented and deep Saints roster. 

OTA’s are voluntary practices without pads, so it’s extremely difficult to walk away with any finite conclusions about a player or players.  The big guys in the trenches really can’t be judged without pads.  The skill players all look fast in shorts and helmets.   There are, however, some assessments you can make from watching practices. 

Here are five things I’ll look for:

How are newcomers on offense and defense picking up the system?  That’s something you can spot pretty much right away.  Who’s grasping the schemes and who’s not?  Typically the rookie’s struggle with this part of the process.  Coaches in the NFL are intolerant of players who can’t grasp the system after they’ve taught the scheme.

How well is Marcus Davenport moving?Davenport had off-season surgery on his toe.The second year player was impressive last season when he was healthy.Davenport played in just seven games in his rookie year battling various injuries. Despite limited time, Davenport posted 4.5 sacks last season.

Has Taysom Hill progressed as a passer?The “Morman Missile” is an incredible athlete, who played all over the field on offense and special teams last season.At some point Hill will have to show the Saints they can count on him at quarterback.At times last year, when Taysom was called upon to throw a pass on a trick play, Hill was inaccurate.

Is Cameron Meredith healthy?  Meredith was added last year in the off-season, after a knee injury sidelined him the previous year with the Bears.  Meredith was never truly healthy coming off the ACL injury in Chicago and ended his first year with the Saints on injured reserve after six games.  Meredith took a pay cut this off-season, and will need to step up to make the final roster.

Are the Saints hungover after back to back heartbreaking post-season exits?Perhaps that answer won’t reveal itself until well into the regular season, but some signs might be noticeable early in the off-season.My guess…this team is fine.Sean Payton is too good a leader to allow that kind of stuff to linger.As the Saints head coach often says, each year is a different year with a different team.

 

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