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Saints vs Chargers - 5 Things to Watch

Kristian Garic previews tonight's preseason game

Kristian Garic
August 20, 2017 - 11:55 am

​Inching closer to the start of the regular season, the Saints take on the Los Angeles Chargers tonight in the second preseason game of the year.  While the Saints are hoping to snap a 10 game preseason losing streak but more importantly the team will get their first look at a  couple of rookies that could see significant playing time this season.  Don't get too concerned with the score of the game, but watch for some individual performances. 

1.  Marhon Lattimore, CB:  The rookie was sidelined for the teams first preseason game against the Browns, but he returned to practice last week after suffering a minor knee injury in training camp.  Lattimore has looked good in man coverage during practices we've seen, and his confidence is growing the more reps he gets on the field.  Lattimore figures to play a lot in the game considering he's a rookie the team needs to get him as much experience as possible. 

2.  Ryan Ramczyk, LT:  Like Lattimore, Ramzcyk was sidelined for the first preseason game.  He'll be back  and we'll get to see if he can handle protecting Drew Brees' blind side.  If practices are any indication if he's up to that task, than I'd say he'll impress with his play against the Chargers. Ramczyk looks particularly good in run blocking.  He and Andrus Peat on the left side of that line are strong run blockers. 

3. Improved running game:  The first three weeks of training camp hasn't yielded enough evidence of drastic improvement on the defense, but on offense the Saints could be even more potent this season.  The addition of RB Adrian Peterson looks like a good one.  He's been explosive through the hole and getting to the next level of the defense.  He's such a violent runner, and I think the running for the Saints this year will be vastly improved.  That's a scary thought for other teams that have the Saints on their schedule. 

4.  Smart football:  In the opener against the Browns, the Saints hurt themselves with a lot of silly penalties. Let's see if they've cleaned that up this week against the Chargers.  Lining up off-sides, and getting silly holding penalties get you beat in the NFL.  This week against the Chargers in practice the Saints still had some issues with pass interference, holding, and jumping off-sides. 

5a. Garret Grayson, QB:  Is fighting for his football life this preseason, and I have to see more of him and improvement from him in order for me think about keeping him a round if I were making that decision.  Grayson still tends to lock on to receivers dropping back in the passing game.  Grayson needs to have a solid showing or I think the team might look elsewhere for the eventual successor to Drew Brees. 

5b.  Pass Rush:  Has it improved? It looks like it has in practice. I want too see it translate into this game. Against the Browns the pass rush was solid, not great but solid. Rookie Trey Hendrickson will make his Saints debut tonight.  Can he be in the rotation with Cam Jordan, Alex Okafor, and Hau'oli Kikaha?  He looks like he can but let's see it the game. Okafor has really come in recent practices getting after the quarterback consistently.  

Watch individuals in preseason games be less concerned about the final score, and more concerned with penalties, and the performance of the young players on this roster that are going to be counted on this season. If they play well you have reason for optimism. 

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