Luke Johnson | NOLA.com
There are lots of great articles around right now that can tell you who to watch out for and who needs to prove themselves tonight in Los Angeles. So I wanted to share with you 3 Saints players that made it to callbacks and have the chance to book their gigs in Los Angeles tonight.
Jonathan Williams, Running Back
Williams has essentially come out of nowhere, in terms of popularity, to snag the four-game Mark Ingram role vacated due to a league suspension. his run-style mimics Ingram’s, can go north and south, but is also a good option as a receiving back. We haven’t seen much of that this preseason, but expect to see a little tonight as more gameplan and scheme come about in the first couple of quarters. Williams has also been complimented by everyone’s favorite QB Drew Brees for his work in pass-protection, “He’s stuck his nose in there in pass protection better than anybody I’ve seen in a while.” Nothing to shake a stick at when your QB compliments you on keeping him clean. If Williams can continue his trajectory tonight and showcase some receiving talent, I’d say he’s locked up his role in the Saints offense for the first four weeks. Especially after the recent cut of Terrence West.
Authur Maulet, Cornerback
I’m not even sure if Maulet will play in tonight’s game, but if he does (he’s been sidelined with a minor injury this past week in camp) he’d have an opportunity to lock up his spot in the Saints secondary. The Saints have not had a single interception so far this preseason and many defensive backs are hoping to change that, Maulet should be the one really chomping at the bit to do so. He’s already proven that he’s developed more than adequately on the practice squad throughout last season (active for a couple of games). But if he can improve his ability in coverage, he’s currently allowed 5 catches on 6 targets for 48 yards, and possibly spark a takeaway he could land his role tonight.
Bonus: In case Maulet doesn’t get to play, I’d keep an eye on Natrell Jamerson who’s looked better in pass coverage allowing 4 of 8 for 49 yards and a PBU, but still could work to get that elusive turnover.
Tre’Quan Smith, Wide Receiver
Many think Tre’Quan Smith has done enough to prove his value was greater than his draft position, but I’d wage to believe that he’s got more he’s waiting to show us. Imagine it this way. Throughout a theatrical audition process you’d read lines with a “reader” someone that’s not cast in the show you’re auditioning for, but was just asked to come read lines with you. Once you move past that, you’ll move into the callback phase in which you’ll read along with other people auditioning. In rare instances, an auditioning actor will get the opportunity to read with the lead that’s already been cast. Smith has dominated opposite his reader McKenzie Milton in college at UCF, he was the star of callbacks with other candidates like Tom Savage and Taysom Hill. Now, he’ll get some time to work with the lead, Drew Brees. This is when Smith gets to pull out anything he’s stowed away and wanted to save until he really got the opportunity to knock the producers (coaching staff) on their behinds. The big question becomes, how do you fit such immense talent into a supporting or background role? This guys’ in conversation to be the #4 receiver on our roster with #2 talent. Often times, the case in which an auditioning actor gets the chance to read with the lead takes place in replacement situations. Could Smith make an argument that his talent is enough to take someone else’s role? We might learn soon enough.
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