Are the Saints getting what they want from the kickoff return unit? – Kevin Ionetta
It’s still early.
Teams are still figuring out how things are going to play with the new kickoff rules, though it should be settling down now.
Tommylee Lewis didn’t do a bad job last week. The Saints had three returns for 69 yards. Their 23-yard average would have placed eighth in the NFL last season right ahead of New Orleans, which averaged 22.9 yards per return.
Special teams coach Mike Westhoff said earlier this summer he would like to use Alvin Kamara on kickoff returns during the later portion of the season. Until then, it looks like Lewis has the inside track on the job.
This is probably a completely wacky idea, but it would be fun to see what Taysom Hill could do in that role. He’s one of the fastest guys on the team, and while it’s somewhat unclear how elusive he is as a runner, he could definitely knock people over and gain extra yards that way.
What’s the deal with Cam Meredith? – Joe S.
Cam Meredith is still working to make up for the time he missed this offseason.
It sounds like he’s healthy and has been practicing fully, but the wide receiver is still developing chemistry with quarterback Drew Brees. That could take some time, especially since playing in the slot requires a level of chemistry that is a little higher than it is on the outside.
Last week, Austin Carr started in the slot. He could potentially keep filling that role until Meredith is ready to take on a bigger role. Carr finished last week with two catches for 20 yards.
The Saints have to be hoping that moment comes sooner than later. Meredith has the potential to be the most dominant slot receiver the team has had since Marques Colston was in his prime. But he will only remain an idea until further notice.
On both deep TD plays to DeSean Jackson, the safety jumped an intermediate in-breaking route. Are the Saints so confident on their boundary CB play that they are hunting turnovers over technique? — Ian Howard
I don’t think that is the case. On the first one, the safety got caught looking where he shouldn’t have been, which allowed Jackson to run free through the middle of the field, away from the boundary cornerbacks.
On the second one, I think the Buccaneers simply ran a route concept that did a good job of creating an opportunity against New Orleans’ quarters coverage. That is going to happen sometimes.
Even if that confidence existed, it shouldn’t until the cornerbacks regain it. Both Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley gave up more than they usually do. There probably isn’t reason for long-term concern, the season is still very young, but those players need to step it up this week.
Cleveland has some very good weapons. If the Saints play like they did last week, the Browns can and will make them pay.
Follow Nick Underhill on Twitter, @nick_underhill.
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