In his first preseason appearance since 2011, Adrian Peterson failed to break any big gains, but the 31-year-old Saints running back didn’t mind. It was enough just to be back on the field.
“It felt good, you know. I was looking forward to it,” Peterson remarked after the game, per ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “I haven’t played in the preseason for a long time, so it was good to get out there. I think I had maybe five or six carries, 12 or 13 plays. It felt good to move around, to get hit and kind of get those first reps out of the way.
This was always the plan in New Orleans. The Saints intended to waive Ellerbe when healthy after placing the 31-year-old veteran on injured reserve in late July.
The linebacker has been saddled with injuries since joining the Saints in 2015 via a trade with the Miami Dolphins that sent Kenny Stills to South Beach. Ellerbe has played in just 16 games over the past three seasons.
Peterson must have known when he signed his two-year, $7 million deal with the Saints in the offseason that he wouldn’t be “the guy” in a crowded RB room. But New Orleans’ investment in A.D. will go wasted if they don’t ratchet up his carries.
The pace of their opener likely dictated the Saints’ decision to go away from Peterson, but if the team doesn’t utilize the 32-year-old back more, in rushing and passing situations, he’ll continue to make an argument for more snaps, further souring New Orleans’ running back gumbo.
As for Manziel’s playing future, Payton made it clear that no Saints contract is pending, saying: “I’m sure he’s got a handful of things he’s got to do step-wise to put himself back into a position to sign with a club and play football again.”
Manziel hasn’t played since 2015, when he made six starts for the Browns, the team that made the former Texas A&M star a first-round pick the year before. Even beyond his endless off-the-field issues, Manziel’s game tape reveals a quarterback with plenty of flaws to go along with his unusual talents.
No stranger to the training camp competition, Nassib battled both Curtis Painter and former No. 1 overall pick David Carr for roster spots over the course of his Giants career. He’ll need a strong July and August to make his case.
With Drew Brees sitting at 38, it’s never a waste of time to comb the free agent market to see what is out there. Head coach Sean Payton has kept an open mind about the future at quarterback, and adding another arm for camp couldn’t hurt the evaluation process long-term.
For Saints fans, it was encouraging to hear Payton mention free agency because it will take years to build this defense through the draft alone. Drew Brees told Good Morning Football on Thursday that he plans on playing for a few more years, but is also 38. This is a window that is rapidly closing.
The Saints’ troubling discrepancy between offensive success and defensive success has been eye-opening for quite some time now. This year, New Orleans finished second in points scored and 31st in points surrendered. They were first in total yards (6,816) and 27th in yards given up (6,006). The one step forward, two steps back approach led them to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan last season and a horde of defensive assistants this season.