For the average person the final pre season game holds very little value. With hardly any starters playing there’s not very much to watch for, right? Wrong! For many guys this will be their last chance, their last moment to proudly wear that beautiful black and gold. Most of the players entering tonight’s game carried the burden of this being their last chance to prove themselves. One of mans greatest instinct is survival and the Saints used that as motivation to dominate the Rams in the preseason finale.
The Saints defense played with a commanding performance, completely controlling the Rams offensive flow of the game, while never allowing them to find any type of rhythm. Nate Stupar played the game of his life accounting for 7 tackles (3 for a loss), 3 sacks, and 1 interception. Heading into the game Stupar was a player on the bubble, but will his outstanding play tonight be enough to make the final roster? Craig Robertson, was another player who just seemed to be everywhere tonight. Robertson is an undersized player with oversized heart that matches his athleticism, his pre season play almost demands he be in the starting lineup. The defense was relentless in applying pressure on the quarterback all night long finishing with as many sacks as turnovers (4). The unit held the Rams to a scoreless game and have allowed only 47 points during the entire pre season, that’s more than twice less than the rest of the division. It is only pre season, but this could be a strong indicator of what we will be seeing all season long. This group is going to be scary good!
On the offensive side of the ball a running mate for Kamara is still being auditioned for the first four games. Strong, solid performances, and a unique style of running by both Williams and Scott could lead to a running back by committee approach. Williams seemed to have the spot all but locked up last week, but Scott refused to let him have all the fun by show casing his best Ingram impression. They combined on the night for 132 yards rushing and a touchdown each, with the whole group gaining almost 200 yards. Now that Bridgewater, has come to town the backup QB battle is settled, but that still didn’t stop Taysom Hill, from showing some promise. Hill, finished the night with a 109.7 QB rating and highlighted his night with a couple of passes to Cameron Meredith, one of them being the lone TD he threw for. Meredith and Trequan Smith made the most out of their opportunity tonight, Meredith hauled in a 57 yard pass play and Smith continued his optimistic play pulling in all 4 of his targets. The offense had their way moving with ease most of the game only slowing down when J.T. Barret came in for mop up duty. This group is primed and ready for the season, showing no reason why they wont continue as one of the top offenses in the league.
The special team play was outstanding and continues to show why bringing in Coach Westhoff, has been one of the biggest additions. A blocked punt, smothering coverage, and pinning the ball at the goal line, are all results of what he brings to this team and the level of play he expects out of his unit. The special team unit will be something very special this year.
A lot of encouragement, a lot of hope was left on the field tonight for player and fan alike. Hope of what the future season holds and dreams of an Atlanta Super bowl. Dreams that will be crushed when the coach tells them they didn’t make the final cut. Good players will be cut from a team this rich in talent as one teams “trash” will become another teams treasure, and players will represent another color. But, to the many that wont get another teams offers or make the practice squad, and especially to the ones who changed the minds of the higher–ups with the game of their life, ask them how meaningless this last chance was to fight alongside their black and gold brothers.