Saints trudge through 16-13 loss to Dolphins to close out preseason
NEW ORLEANS – It was the dreaded fourth and final preseason game, the meaningless exercise for so many.
Fortunately, it is over.
The highlight of the night was the announcement that the Saints re-signed Jermon Bushrod Thursday and the two-time Pro Bowl player announced his retirement as a Saint. Bushrod was as starter on the Super Bowl XLIV team and he is an outstanding person, universally popular with all who played with him and all who covered him.
As expected, starters were nowhere to be found for the Saints.
The New Orleans defense had a hard time getting off the field on several occasions in the first half. Of course, it was playing with players who won’t be playing at the start of the regular season.
Perhaps a couple of roster spots were decided on this night. Perhaps Sean Payton already knew who he planned to keep.
Here are my Quick Takes from the 16-13 Miami victory over New Orleans:
**CJ Gardner Johnson did a nice job in run force on the first series of the game.
**Colton Jumper made a nice play for a loss on the first series as well with good lateral pursuit. He then made a big hit to help the Saints get a stop.
**The Dolphins drove seven plays and 47 yards and Jason Sanders kicked a 47-yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 8:36 to play in the opening quarter.
**Dan Arnold, locked in a battle for a roster spot, was whistled for holding on the opening possession which led to a Saints punt.
**Linebacker Will Compton made a nice play late in the first quarter but went down injured. He limped off the field.
**Miami went on a 15 play, 83-yard drive to end the first quarter and early into the second quarter, taking 7:27 off the clock with Sanders booting a 26-yard field goal to make it 6-0 with 14:05 to play in the half.
**Teddy Bridgewater brought the Saints offense alive midway through the second quarter, engineering a nine play, 81-yard drive which took 4:44 off the clock with Bridgewater connecting with Emmanuel Butler on a 12-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 7-6 lead with 4:16 to play in the half.
**It was a perfect throw by Bridgewater and Butler ran a good route and he is a big target. Earlier, Butler had a drop but he redeemed himself in a big way.
**Also on the drive, Bridgewater completed a perfectly thrown 43-yard pass down the seam to Lil’Jordan Humphrey.
**Patrick Robinson, who is fighting for his life to make the roster, went down injured late in the second quarter.
**Miami took the lead just before halftime as Jake Rudock connected with Reece Horn on a two-yard touchdown pass to give the Dolphins a 13-7 lead with 17 seconds left in the half. The drive covered 75 yards in 10 plays and took 3:51 off the clock.
**Bridgewater ended up with a solid half, completing 9-of-13 passes for 83 yards and a score but Jake Rudock was even better, hitting on 13-of-16 for 152 yards and a score for the Dolphins.
**The Saints yielded 217 yards of offense in the first half.
**Taysom Hill took over at quarterback in the second half.
**Corbin Kaufusi broke up a pass early in the second half for the Saints.
**Shy Tuttle, battling for a roster spot, had a good pass rush forcing an incomplete pass. On the next play, he batted a pass by Rudock down.
**The Dolphins increased the lead to 16-7 with 5:15 to play in the third quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Sanders. That capped a 15 play, 77-yard drive, taking 7:36 off the clock.
**Alize Mack, who has battled injuries, negated a second completion to Cyril Grayson Jr. with an illegal block. It remains to be seen if Mack will make the practice squad.
**Simmie Cobbs made a couple of catches but he was later flagged for an obvious holding violation to negate a good run by Kerwynn Williams. Cobbs rebounded with another catch for a first down but later had a bad drop on a perfect throw from Hill.
**Hill overcame a pair of penalties to lead the Saints on a 65-drive in 13 plays, taking 6:48 off the clock with Jacquizz Rodgers scoring on a one-yard touchdown run. Hill was 5-of-5 for 43 yards passing and ran twice for 18 yards on the drive.
**Kayvon Webster made a nice play in space early in the fourth quarter to force a Miami punt.
**Hill distinguished himself well again, making good decisions, not forcing the ball, throwing accurately and running well, as always. Three of his four incomplete passes drops by Cobbs, Rodgers and by Mack in the end zone on what would have been a touchdown.
The preseason is over for New Orleans. What did we learn?
Start by surmising that the Saints are a good football team. How good depends on injuries and continued development of young players, along with Drew Brees remaining at an elite level.
Can Marshon Lattimore play back to his rookie season level? Can Marcus Davenport take a big step forward in his second season? Can Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara continue to play like superstars? Can Erik McCoy handle the center position in solid fashion? Can Terron Armstead play a full season? Is there a legitimate third wide receiver beyond Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr?
We will begin to get answers on Sept. 9.
- < PREV Saints tackle Jermon Bushrod announces retirement
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…