After Further Review: Five takes Saints vs. Chargers

After Further Review: Five takes Saints vs. Chargers
Taysom Hill scrambles away from a defender.

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Take One: Taysom takes over

Yes, it was against backups and third teamers. Yes, it was only preseason. But, regardless, Taysom Hill is fun to watch huh? In the second half, he was the best player on the field by far and rallied his team from a 14-point deficit to a 19-17 win.

He’s instant energy and has that unique ability to change momentum quickly. Plus, he’s getting better as a true quarterback while still allowing himself to be an athlete. Two plays illustrated this perfectly.

The first came on his first touchdown pass. Hill stayed patient and allowed the play to develop. He read the ’flat’ defender and knew based on what he saw, Austin Carr would be wide open. Last preseason, he may have come off that read too quickly and missed the throw.

On the next drive, Hill showed his athleticism when he was looking to his left, felt pressure at his feet, broke the tackle then hit the edge. He embarrassed the defender in the open field and ended up gaining 23 yards. That drive should have ended in points, but Devine Ozigbo fumbled inside the five-yard line.

We know what Hill’s role will be this season. But in the long run, it would be foolish to completely discount the idea that he can be a starting quarterback in the league.

Take Two: Teddy fights bug, struggles

We found out after the game that Teddy Bridgewater had been battling a bug for the last few days. His fatigue showed up on the field where he admitted he lacked energy and wasn’t himself.

Bridgewater wasn’t decisive or nearly as accurate as he was last week. But where he really struggled throughout camp really, is coming off his first read. He’s just not comfortable when the first read is taken away and has to climb the pocket to make a throw. He badly misfired on a play like that to Emmanuel Butler early in the game. Butler broke free over the middle, but when Bridgewater stepped up to make the throw, it sailed on him.

On his interception, Bridgewater was a little frantic looking to his check down to Dwayne Washington and the ball came off his hand a little too hot. You could make an argument that Washington should have caught that pass, but you could sense that Bridgewater wasn’t in complete command.

Bridgewater only threw one interception but could have been picked off twice more and was fortunate he was not.

Take Three: Trey Hendrickson steps up

If you read this blog all camp, you know that Hendrickson’s name has come up a lot. He keeps showing up and getting noticed. Sunday may have been his best effort to date. He was relentless and disruptive along the line of scrimmage. He forced two holding calls on Chargers lineman and was constantly in the Chargers backfield despite not officially getting a sack.

Sean Payton said after the game that Hendrickson is playing at heavier weight than a year ago and it’s helping his play. Hendrickson is a non-stop motor, effort type of player. And overall, he’s had a better camp than last year’s first round pick Marcus Davenport, who still appears to be in the development stages in his second preseason.

Take Four: Deonte Harris making mark as returner

I thought Marcus Sherels was a lock at returner, until Sunday. I have to put Deonte Harris, at the very least, on even ground with him after his effort. Harris wasn’t perfect, he let a punt drop inside the five-yard line, but he made a clear difference in the ball game. He finished with five punt returns for 55 yards and two kickoff returns for 50 yards.

His final punt return of 15 yards put the Saints in great field position to help Hill lead the team to the winning score.

Take Five: Other Observations

- Ozigbo had a good day, despite his fumble. He has good field vision and cutting ability. Plus, he caught the ball well with a team-high three catches. I still think Washington is in the lead for the third running back but Ozigbo is a prospect the Saints may try to keep around.

  • Nick Easton was badly beaten on the sack of Hill during two-minute.
  • Porter Gustin made a few plays Sunday. He’s quietly made progress throughout camp.
  • Butler had an awful drop on a throw from Hill that should have resulted in a first down.
  • C.J. Gardner Johnson came in too hard to make the initial tackle on the Chargers’ punt return for a touchdown. Gardner-Johnson was easily faked out.
  • Speaking of CJGJ, he began the game with the first team at nickel.
  • Marshall Newhouse got the start at left tackle in place of Terron Armstead.
  • Cyril Grayson flashed his elite speed on the bootleg pass he caught from Hill in the flat. Grayson sprinted for 23 yards.
  • Colton Jumper made a nice play to seal the game by picking off the errant pass by Easton Stick. Those laser-type throws aren’t always easy for defenders to handle.
  • Linebacker Craig Roberston leaving the game early is something to monitor going forward for the Saints.

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