Usually, I’d write a three-players trending up and down article following a Saints game. After the Saints’ 24-0-win vs the Las Vegas Raiders, I am feeling overwhelmingly positive and thought I’d just focus on the positives this week.
After the performance, Alvin Kamara had on and off the field this week, how could I not start with him?
Let’s start with the field. This was a vintage Alvin Kamara performance, Kamara 27 touches for 158 yards (62 rushing and 96 receiving) and three touchdowns. All three touchdowns were typical AK, making players miss and generally making incredibly difficult play looks easy.
Andy Dalton kept the Saints starting job because of his proficiency in getting number 41 the ball. With Dalton starting Kamara has averaged 17.75 rush attempts per game and 8.5 targets per game. This offense has always been at its best with Kamara getting 20-plus touches.
It’s no surprise the offense has looked the best it has in two seasons, given AK is so involved he makes this team tick on the field and off it.
Highlights of Kamara Vs the Raiders- Alvin Kamara DOMINATES the Raiders with 3 Touchdowns! – YouTube
Speaking about off the field the last week and a half has been huge for AK the leader. He gave a spirited speech after the Thursday night loss to Arizona and was vocal in the locker room all week. Kamara has always been a player that others followed and gravitated to, this is the first time though we’ve heard Kamara step out of the crowd and be the voice of the locker room.
Clearly, it worked and hopefully, this change will galvanize the team the rest of the way.
So far Saints fans (me included) have been pretty negative towards the Tyrann Mathieu signing through 7 games.
If we are going to be vocal about the negatives, we absolutely should be vocal about the positives. This looked like Tyrann Mathieu’s best game as a Saint.
Dennis Allen seems to be deploying Mathieu in a much better way the last two games, generally around the line of scrimmage, which is allowing him to make more plays.
He had an interception in this game off a tipped pass by Pete Werner and dropped what would have been a pick-six after he broke on an in-route. The ‘Honey Badger’ also had one pressure in this game, this is the playmaking role we all envisioned when the Saints signed him.
This is not the first time Dennis Allen has struggled with a versatile safety early in their first season with the team. When the Saints brought back Malcolm Jenkins in 2020, the early returns weren’t great and DA admitted that there was an adjustment period to how Jenkins should be used, after the team’s week six bye, Allen started to deploy Jenkins much closer to the line of scrimmage and he flourished. Does that sound familiar? Feels like this could be the formula for Mathieu going forward.
What a time to be alive, Cesar Ruiz looks like a top-five RG in the league and now Payton Turner has a five-pressure, two-sack performance.
He was also a force against the run, recording three defensive stops that were second to Pete Werner’s four.
Turner’s career so far has not been what anyone hoped, an injury-plagued first season and was a healthy scratch earlier in the season. Hopefully, this is a turning point game, a game that gives Turner confidence to allow him to springboard forward into a key piece on this Saints d-line.
If can Turner can provide solid depth in the Saints’ pass rush rotation going forward that would help massively, as great as Cam Jordan is, if the Saints could reduce his snaps slightly to keep him fresher in games as he continues into his mid- 30s that will help massively.
The rookie second-round pick had an excellent debut against the Cardinals last Thursday night. He topped his debut on Sunday vs the Raiders.
He held Davante Adams to zero catches on three targets. Overall Taylor was targeted ten times in the game allowing four catches for 34 yards, with one PBU.
His coverage was sticky all game constantly on the receivers’ hip ready to make a play. It feels like he’s only a split second away from an interception and I think that will come soon, he looked like he tried to bait Derek Carr with one run in particular on Sunday.
It was a crossing route over the middle, Taylor seemed to sag behind the receiver enough to convince Carr to make the throw, as soon as he did Taylor used his 4.3 speed to break on the ball and break it up, Taylor was noticeably upset that he didn’t complete the catch for an interception.
It wasn’t all perfect for Taylor, he has plenty to work on PFF had him missing four tackles which is excessive but, he brings significant energy to this defense, something that was missing so far this year with the absence of Chauncy Gardner-Johnson.
Once Marshon Lattimore returns he and Taylor should be the starters on the outside, not Adebo and I think that will be a real plus, starting tandem for the Saints.
Finally, Ryan Ramczyk. A player who was once on a hall-of-fame trajectory has not been his dominant self since suffering a knee injury last year.
Ram has still been a more than good starting RT, but his play has not been quite as dominant as it was in his earlier seasons.
Ramczyk looked like his old self, he was matched up for most of the day against Maxx Crosby who’s one of the best in the league. Entering Week Eight Crosby was fifth in the league in pressures (30).
That total did not change after Sunday’s matchup, Ramczyk kept him completely in check and did not allow Crosby to get a single pressure. Brandon Thorn on Twitter highlighted how well Ram did against Crosby in the tweet below.
The right side of the line is becoming a building block for the Saints with Cesar Ruiz and Ramczyk.
Pete Werner could be in this section every week. The second-year Linebacker is playing like an all-pro and he continued that trend on Sunday.
He led the team in tackles, and defensive stops, and his stellar coverage and pass deflection gifted Tyrann Mathieu his interception.
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