2018 New Orleans Saints Training Camp Preview:

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2018 New Orleans Saints Training Camp Preview:

Messagepar huangjian123 » 09 Novembre 2018, 02:46

Running Back The New Orleans Saints produced a historic running back tandem in 2017. With one of their 3rd round selections in the 2017 draft Youth Marshon Lattimore Jersey , the Saints added running back Alvin Kamara from Tennessee. Kamara was expected to add a pass catching threat to compliment the rushing talents of veteran back Mark Ingram, similar to what the team had in Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. What they got instead from Kamara was a performance that earned him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as he put himself in the conversation as one of the league's top offensive weapons. Not to be outdone, Mark Ingram had the best season of his seven year career, and both New Orleans backs made the Pro Bowl. Ingram and Kamara combined for 3,094 total yards, just shy of 50% of the total yards from scrimmage by the New Orleans offense in 2017. The team was dealt a big blow when it was announced this spring that Ingram will miss the first four games of this season due to league suspension. In today's training camp preview, we take a look at one of the positions that was key to the Saints offensive success a year ago. RUNNING BACK Key Losses: John Kuhn (free agent)Key Additions: Terrance West (free agent, Ravens)Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesThe Saints biggest loss at this position is obviously Ingram missing the first four contests. New Orleans begins the year by hosting division rival Tampa Bay, who will be without a key player themselves in quarterback Jameis Winston (serving a 3-game suspension due to misconduct) to begin the season. The Saints then host the Cleveland Browns in week two, followed by road trips to hated rival Atlanta and the New York Giants in weeks three and four, with Ingram scheduled to return in a week five game at home against Washington. Ingram has been one of the league's most underrated running backs over his seven year career, and has been a huge part of the team's offensive success over the last four seasons in particular. He needs just 735 yards rushing and five touchdowns to pass Deuce McAllister for the top mark on the Saints all time list in both categories. Ingram's 12 rushing touchdowns a year ago is the second highest total in franchise history, and with a 1,000-yd. effort again in 2018 he would become just the second back (McAllister) in team history to accomplish the feat in three straight seasons. There are some questions about Ingram's contract status beyond this year, but he will certainly be a big part of the New Orleans offense again this season. He has made himself into an every down back, working hard to improve his receiving skills and pass blocking abilities since entering the league. Ingram is a rugged runner between the tackles, with an underrated burst once at the second level of the defense and a capable receiver out of the backfield. The Saints are one of the few teams that still utilize a fullback fairly often, and Zach Line filled in admirably enough when veteran John Kuhn struggled with injuries a season ago that the team re-signed him this offseason. Line is a devastating lead blocker, and has also proven to be an effective checkdown option near the goal line. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsAlvin Kamara established himselfas one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the league quickly once becoming one of the offense's focal points near the quarter point of last season. He finished with 826 receiving yards to lead all NFL backs, and his 100 targets and 81 receptions were second only to Le'veon Bell of the Steelers. Kamara surprised some with his abilities as a runner, piling up 728 yards on the ground while averaging an impressive 6.1 yards per carry. He is electric in the open field, and is a threat to score any time he touches the ball. Kamara scored 14 touchdowns in 2017, 8 rushing, 5 receiving, and adding another on a team-record 106-yd. kickoff return against Tampa Bay. Kamara is able to line up anywhere within the Saints offensive formation, and creates instant mismatches for opposing defenses. Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsIngram's suspension creates a major question for the Saints offense to answer early on. There is very little experience behind their talented two-headed monster at running back within the New Orleans system. Second year back Trey Edmunds carried 9 times for 48 yards and an impressive 41-yd. touchdown run, but all took place in a victory at Buffalo. Edmunds is a bigger back with an upright and punishing running style, but not an elusive runner. Daniel Lasco returns for his 3rd season after missing the majority of 2017 with a neck injury. He carried 11 times for 32 yards the year before, but is mostly used for his standout abilities on special teams. The Saints signed Jonathan Williams off of the Denver Broncos practice squad late in the 2017 season. Originally a 5th round draft choice by Buffalo in 2016, Williams flashes excellent balance Youth Alex Anzalone Jersey , quick feet, fluid change of direction, and good strength as a runner, but has a concerning injury history with his foot. Saints coaches are intrigued with his natural instincts and athleticism. New Orleans spent a 6th round draft pick this spring (201st overall) to draft Boston Scott out of Louisiana Tech. Although Scott's height (5'6) caused immediate comparisons to former Saint Darren Sproles, the former Bulldog has underrated strength and running ability between the tackles. His elusiveness in the open field also makes him a possibility as a kick returner, despite his inexperience in college with that role. Once Ingram's suspension had been announced, the team tried out a number of veteran running backs to bolster their depth, ultimately deciding to sign former Raven Terrance West. The 27-yr old West enters his 5th NFL season, but comes off a disappointing and injury plagued year with Baltimore. He does have 1,816 career yards along with 11 touchdowns, with the majority of his success coming in 2014 with the Cleveland Browns (171 carries for 673 yards and 4 touchdowns) and 2016 with Baltimore (193-774, 5). West offers little as a receiver, and isn't much of a breakaway threat, but can pick up the tough yardage between the tackles and a stable veteran presence in the backfield. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesDespite Kamara showing the potential to take on the full workload as the team's number 1 back, Saints coach Sean Payton has said that he still plans on splitting the backfield touches during Ingram's suspension. The versatile talents of the reigning offensive rookie of the year are best utilized when Kamara is moved around the offensive formation, as he often was a season ago. The onus will be on at least one of either Williams, Scott, Edmunds, West, or even Lasco to separate themselves and earn the trust of their coaches during perhaps the most important competition of the preseason. A fierce competitor like Mark Ingram will likely return from his suspension extremely motivated, and the talented New Orleans tandem will resume keeping opposing defensive coordinators up at night. Until that happens however, all eyes will be on the New Orleans Saints backfield throughout the preseason as a group of unproven players attempt to answer one of the team's biggest questions as they enter the 2018 season. No miraculous play was needed for New Orleans to win this game in Minnesota, no where-were-you moment that instantly went viral.Drew Brees and the Saints simply scored some revenge for their last-second loss in the playoffs last season by taking advantage of two key turnovers, including a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown by P.J. Williams, in a 30-20 victory over the Vikings on Sunday night."This one had a little extra special meaning," Brees said, flashing a slight smile after he went 18 for 23 to maintain his league-leading 77.4 completion percentage.Alvin Kamara scored twice, Wil Lutz made three field goals and Sheldon Rankins had two of the four sacks by the Saints (6-1), who needed only 120 passing yards by Brees to beat the Vikings (4-3-1) this time with far less tension down the final stretch and stay undefeated in four road games this year."It's everything we wanted it to be," Rankins said.Stefon Diggs had 119 receiving yards and a score in his curtain call after the "Minneapolis Miracle" catch in the NFC divisional round here in January Color Rush Austin Carr Jersey , but he stopped his drag route in a miscommunication with quarterback Kirk Cousins right before Williams picked the ball off for the pivotal third-quarter touchdown.Adam Thielen had another record-setting performance for the Vikings with 103 yards and a score, but he lost a fumble that was returned 54 yards by Marshon Lattimore to set up the go-ahead touchdown for the Saints."We're a really good football team, but you can't make mistakes in this league and win, especially on critical situations when you have the ball in the red zone," Thielen said. "Obviously I'm going to think about that one for a while, and I'm definitely disappointed in myself."The Vikings had the edge on both sides of the ball during the first half. Harrison Smith handed Brees his first interception of the season after 231 attempts without one, putting the Vikings in position to stretch a 13-10 lead.Late in the second quarter, Thielen drove forward for extra yards after a short completion and had the ball pried loose by Williams and Alex Anzalone at the 14. Lattimore scooped it up and raced the other way, before Laquon Treadwell took him down. Treadwell then slammed his helmet on the turf in frustration, drawing a devastating 15-yard penalty to give the Saints the ball at the 18 with 57 seconds remaining before halftime. Kamara soared into the end zone two plays later."I was giving up a few plays," Williams said, "but a turnover always turns the game around."The Vikings started the second half with the ball and went for it on fourth-and-1 at their own 45. With an empty backfield, Cousins had Treadwell open over the middle, but Lattimore broke up the pass to change possession and set up Lutz's second field goal."I told the team I was going to be aggressive," coach Mike Zimmer said. "Every fourth down that was close, we were going to go for it."SIZZLING STARTThe first evening kickoff of the season at U.S. Bank Stadium created an extra-energetic atmosphere, and the pregame hype video montage with replays of the last-snap catch and run by Diggs for the winning touchdown in the playoffs against the Saints only enhanced it.Defensive end Everson Griffen, returning from a five-game absence for mental health treatment, led the sprint out of the replica Vikings ship for introductions. Diggs was saved for last. Then the action came fast and furious.Kamara capped the opening touchdown drive by catching a forward flip on a jet sweep play with both backup quarterbacks, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, lined up as wide receivers. Hill had taken a turn at quarterback earlier and threw a 44-yard pass to Michael Thomas, his second highlight-reel reception during that drive.Thielen climbed over the neck of Williams for a tricky third-down catch on the ensuing possession for the Vikings, who kept on attacking the third-year nickel cornerback. Diggs beat him with a back-shoulder grab at the goal line and again four plays later on a toe-tap touchdown at the edge of the end zone on fourth down.Williams had a pass interference penalty on the next drive for the Vikings. That set up a short scoring run by Latavius Murray, who tossed the ball back to Cousins earlier on that possession for a 28-yard flea-flicker throw to Thielen.THIELEN ITThielen tied Calvin Johnson's all-time NFL record of eight straight 100-yard receiving games, set in 2012 with Detroit. He also matched Patrick Jeffers with a fifth consecutive game with 100-plus yards and at least one touchdown, a mark set in 1999 for Carolina.INJURY REPORTSaints: CB Eli Apple, acquired in a trade with the New York Giants, made his debut in place of Ken Crawley, who was inactive but not on the injury report.Vikings: CB Xavier Rhodes (foot) was one of six starters held out with injuries. ... Backup RB Roc Thomas left with a hamstring injury.UP NEXTSaints: Return home to host the Los Angeles Rams (8-0) next Sunday.Vikings: Stay home to face the Detroit Lions (3-4) next Sunday.
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2018 New Orleans Saints Training Camp Preview:

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