NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Saints are heading into their preseason finale Thursday night with a primary goal of sorting out their roster to be ready for the regular season just eleven days later. All teams must cut their rosters down to 53 players by 3 PM central time on Saturday, August 31st.
Michael Mauti will be in studio to analyze his former team’s contest against the Dolphins and is hoping that the defense will continue to play the way they did in the first three games “They’re taking the ball away," Mauti said earlier this week. "I know coach Dennis [Allen] has been emphasizing the fact that you’ve got to get turnovers, take the ball away. Marshon Lattimore with the unbelievable football play to come in, fill the gap, make a tackle, strip it and return it..that was a great football play. You can see the mentality taking shape.”
Throughout the preseason, all eyes have been on second year pro Marcus Davenport who has been billed as a difference maker on the Saints defense after the team traded their 2019 first round draft pick to move up in the 2018 first round to select him 16th overall. “The thing I’d like to see most is really, who is going to play that spot opposite of Cam Jordan?" Mauti said. "We saw Trey Hendrickson do a good job, he’s got a high motor and is becoming a more developed player in the last couple years and I know his mentality as far as he approaches the game. Then you’ve got the first rounder, Marcus Davenport, we haven’t really seen him mature. He was dealing with an injury last year so I think in the next couple weeks, we’ll see how he is coming along because that’s an important position, setting the edge on the other side of Cam Jordan.”
Mauti’s NFL career is marked by exceptional special teams play, both in Minneapolis and New Orleans, highlighted by his 2015 punt block against the Falcons on a Monday Night that drew comparisons to Steve Gleason’s famous play. Mauti says he’ll be keeping a close eye on the battle between his former Vikings teammate, Marcus Sherels, and Deonte Harris, who took a punt return to the house Saturday against the Jets. “Really impressed with what he has done this preseason," Mauti said of Harris. "We haven’t seen much of Sherels, as much as I know having played with him that he’s a dynamic punt returner but we just haven’t seen it. Availability is sometimes more important than ability in preseason when roster spots are on the table so you’ve got to go out and prove it every night, Harris has done that in this preseason.”
The Saints will look to go out and prove it Thursday night against the Dolphins. Mauti’s coverage with Juan Kincaid will begin at 6:30 p.m., leading up to a 7 p.m. kickoff. To submit a question to be answered during the night, download the Final Play app and use the Final Word Feature.