Ahead of tonight’s matchup, I thought it’d be nice to reach out to the other side and get a little help previewing tonight’s preseason finale.
Managing editor of our Saints sister site, Tina Howell, was kind enough to lend her thoughts on the matchup, including her take on Jameis Winston being the team’s quarterback if the future or just a bridge to the next franchise passer.
Hope you enjoy!
1. What’s the overall temperature of the fan base when it comes to expectations this season? Will the Saints be competitive this season or is it going to be part of a rebuild?
Saints fans are very excited, but they always are when it comes to the team. We have a vocal and passionate fan base and the bond between the Saints and the fans is unexplainable. No matter what is going in life, on Sundays, it’s all about the Saints. So with a new season approaching and all the positive changes this offseason, expectations are high. On paper, this is a very talented team, but the key is staying healthy. Last year, we had so many issues. A new QB, major hurricane, the team relocating for a month, injuries to multiple starters and Covid to deal with. That much adversity is very difficult for any team to overcome. Yet, they finished 9-8 and almost made the playoffs so I fully expect the Saints to improve this year. A few weeks ago, I made the prediction of them going at least 11-6 and I stand by that.
2. Who are the most notable additions/losses to this roster compared to last year’s team?
Obviously, losing Sean Payton was a shock because no one saw it coming but what Dennis Allen has done with our defense the last few years has been incredible because for so many years especially with Drew still in his prime, the defense was our weakest link, so I feel he earned the opportunity to become our new head coach. Plus, the players already know and love and really respect him, so the transition was easy. As for players, we took a little hit in losing Marcus Williams in free agency and Malcom Jenkins retiring but I think with the additions of Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu, that only strengthened our defense.
3. Who is one underrated player you’re excited to watch this season?
C.J. Gardner- Johnson aka “Ceedy Duce”. The guy really gives his all on the field. C.J is fun to watch but he is also such an important part of our defense. He often gets overlooked in the media, which only feeds his desire to play harder. I expect big things from him this season. Especially because he is seeking a contract extension and really wants to stay in New Orleans, so I hope they can get a deal done sooner than later.
4. Is Jameis Winston really the quarterback of the future or will the Saints likely draft a quarterback in the next year or two?
Last year, Jameis was playing well prior to his injury. In seven games, he threw for almost 1200 yards, had 14 TDs, 3 INTs and a QB rating of 109.9. All without any real weapons at wide receiver. I think Jameis has said and done everything we could ask of him so far and the team is behind him 100% as is the fans. Jameis has embraced the city and really matured to become the leader we need. With Alvin Kamara, Taysom Hill, the return of Mike Thomas plus the addition of Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave, I think our offense will be a real threat again. Again, the key is everyone MUST stay healthy.
5. What’s your score prediction for the Saints-Chargers preseason game?
I don’t have a lot of expectations in this game because I don’t expect to or want to see our starters out there too long. I also don’t want to see us go 0-3 in preseason, so I will optimistically throw out a 20-17 score. Saints win!