Two NFC franchises in a transitional state will square off this weekend in their second preseason game. The New Orleans Saints will head north to take on the Green Bay Packers, and both teams will be looking to help answer some key questions as they get ready for the regular season.
New Orleans Saints
With the departure of longtime head coach Sean Payton this offseason, the Saints are entering a new era that will not be defined by the intimate connection Payton had with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. New head coach Dennis Allen gets his second chance to run a franchise, and is hoping that is will go better than his first stint with the Oakland Raiders from 2012-2014.
In a perfect world, New Orleans will have quarterback Jameis Winston and running back Alvin Kamara available from Week 1 of the regular season, and for the duration of the campaign. However, both players might possibly miss time due to injury or suspension respectively, which means the Saints need to have backup plans ready to play just in case.
While the incredibly versatile Taysom Hill always remains in the mix for snaps at quarterback, it seems like the team is most comfortable with NFL veteran Andy Dalton as the player who will replace Winston if he can’t go. Dalton looked very sharp in New Orleans’ first preseason game, going 5/5 for 51 yards with one touchdown.
On the ground, Tony Jones Jr. and Dwayne Washington figure to factor into New Orleans’ backfield plans in case Kamara is suspended by the NFL. Former Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram is also on the roster, and would be a reliable alternative as well.
Green Bay Packers
The biggest question for the Packers heading into the 2022 season is how they will replace All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. The team traded Adams to Las Vegas this offseason, and the offensive staff will have to figure out how to replace 169 targets and 1,553 yards through the air. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently said that while he values a patient approach with the receivers he currently has on the roster, the team cannot afford to wait for their development forever.
Rodgers did not suit up in the team’s preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers, and it feels unlikely that he will play in any of the team’s preseason games due to the amount of experience he has. Even still, their matchup with the Saints will give fans another chance to see a player who might help fill the void Adams left behind. Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs has received rave reviews during training camp, and may very well be putting himself in position for a prominent role on the team. Fellow rookie Christian Watson has not been able to participate due to a knee injury, while Doubs continues to shine. The former Nevada receiver caught a touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Jordan Love in the 49ers game.