HOUSTON, TX (WVUE) - Five takeaways from Saturday's Saints vs. Texans preseason game.
Take one: Offensive line concern is legitimate.
This was a group that was together for the first time as an entire unit Saturday night. The lack of chemistry between Terron Armstead, Tim Lelito, Max Unger, Andrus Peat, and Zach Strief showed. They failed to protect Drew Brees consistently and were ineffective in the ground game.
Perhaps this is a case of a group just needing more time playing together. But as of now, it's clear that the offensive line is a legitimate concern.
On a side note, I'm starting to think that Peat's versatility is working to his detriment. If his job this year is right guard, that's where he should remain for the rest of the preseason. Through two games Peat has looked like the jack of all trades, master of none.
Take two: Don't discount fatigue in Saturday's performance.
I spoke with Jim Henderson before the game who correctly predicted that Saturday could be a lethargic game for the Saints. This team has been gone for a long time. Every player I spoke with Saturday expressed how ready they were to return. Having to go from West Virginia to New England for joint practices and a game, back to West Virginia, then to Houston for more joint practices and a game drained this team mentally. That fatigue was evident Saturday. They will never have a travel schedule that grueling in the regular season.
The great news is now they're back in New Orleans and won't have to travel for a month. Hopefully they can get refreshed.
Take three: Nick Fairley was the most positive aspect of Saturday's loss
With four tackles and a sack, Fairley looked like the best player in black and gold Saturday night. A motivated Fairley could wind up being the steal of free agency. Right now, he is off to a good start.
Take four: Brandon Coleman has become frustrating.
Sean Payton was pretty pointed in his criticism of Coleman calling his entire camp 'pedestrian.' It's easy to see why Payton is frustrated. The offense keeps waiting and waiting for him to be the dominant player that his size suggests he should be. What stood out Saturday in addition to his d rops was just how many opportunities Coleman had in the game. He was targeted an abundance of times and never really came through. The Saints truly want him to succeed. He just hasn't taken advantage of his opportunities. What's most frustrating is Coleman has the ability to separate, he was open on just about all of the passes thrown his way, he just has inconsistent hands to make the catch.
Take five: Murphy lacks concentration
I firmly believe Murphy is the Saints' best option as a returner, but his tendency to put the ball on the ground is going to get him unemployed. Unlike last week where he bobbled the punt, on Saturday he caught the punt then fumbled it on his way to the ground. Payton was obviously upset about that after the game and even said 'we'll find a new returner.' Murphy may be running out of chances.