by Kenneth Cooper
The Saints are serious contenders again this year. But…..
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME football? Pardon the waning interest, but we’ve been here before. In two weeks the NFL will kick off its 101st season. And for what seems like the 101th time, the Saints will be one of the Super Bowl favorites. But you know how it goes. The Saints start off in dominating fashion, making statements during the regular season, possibly even securing home field advantage. The city gets whooped into a Who Dat frenzy with dreams of winning a second Super Bowl. And then come the playoffs, and then the heartbreak. Next the curse words. And finally, that long walk from the Dome to your car or the from the sofa to the refrigerator for that one last beer cry in. Yep, it’s football time again. In two weeks the season will begin. And there are three Saints players who are playing for their future with the team.
These 3 players to watch could impact the Saints chances to win the Superbowl this season
1. Alvin Kamara needs a bounce back year, badly. Put him down as #1 among the three Saints players who are playing for their future with the team. Last season Kamara was average, by his standards. Whether it was because of injuries, the departure of Mark Ingram, or some behind the scenes drama, he just wasn’t the same player the team had seen during his first two seasons. For example, in 2018 Kamara racked-up 1,592 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns. He was being heralded as one of the best running backs in the league. But in 2019, Kamara dropped to 1,330 yards and 6 touchdowns. The playoff game against the Vikings was a real low point. When the team needed him to step up, he responded with only 55 yards and a touchdown. And worse, he seemed disinterested or not fully focused during what could have been a game winning drive. Going into the last year of his contract, Kamara really needs to bounce back to 2018 for the Saints to pay him the amount of money he’ll most likely be demanding.
2. Put down Marcus Davenport as #2 on the list of Saints players playing for their future with the team. In two seasons, Davenport hasn’t done much to justify the 1st and 5th round picks the Saints gave up to get him. Not only has he only tallied a total of 10.5 sacks and 4 force fumbles, but he has yet to finish a season. Also, his pass rushing repertoire seems limited to a basic bull rush. There have been flashes though. He’s made a number of highlight reel worthy plays, but 1st and 5th round picks are basically starters in the NFL. And even though, Marcus Davenport has shown potential, he hasn’t been worth the price of two starters.
3. Yes another Marcus. This Marcus is Marcus Williams, starting free safety with the team. This will be Marcus Williams’ contract year, and he’s #3 on the list of Saints players playing for their future with the team. There’s an easy way to sum up Marcus Williams’ reign as free safety. It goes like this 🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿♂️🤦🏿🤦🏿♂️. Despite racking up 10 interceptions in 3 seasons, Williams is known for his passiveness. The plays he didn’t make. Mainly the plays he didn’t make but could’ve made in big games — like the Miracle in Minneapolis where he epically whiffed on a game ending tackle that would’ve sent the Saints to the NFC Championship, or the missed tackle and subsequent 20 yards George Kittle dragged him to give the 49ers a victory in what ultimately became the defining game for home field advantage last season. With the addition of Malcolm Jenkins, there is no reason Marcus Williams should be the starting Free Safety with this team, but apparently the Saints will give him one more year to prove himself.
Predictions on the 3 players to watch in 2020
1.Expect Alvin Kamara to bounce back. He has too much talent to remain average, and the incentive of a pay day and the pressure from Ty Montgomery, who the Saints signed as insurance, will push Kamara to play like the Kamara of old.
2. Expect Marcus Davenport to hang onto his job as defensive end opposite Cam Jordan, but don’t expect him to justify his draft status just yet. He hasn’t made any note worthy leaps in training camp, so it’s doubtful they’ll be any kind of substantial leap when the season starts. He’ll be solid, but not spectacular.
3. Expect this to be Marcus Williams’ last season with the team. On paper, he’ll once again put up stats that’ll make him appear as a solid safety, but as far as his actual impact, it won’t be enough for the Saints to match whatever inflated offer he gets from another team during free agency.
So here we are, two weeks away. Three Saints players fighting for their future with team. Another Super Bowl on the horizon. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME football?