Saints vs. Chargers: What to Watch For

New Orleans will try to break a 10-game losing streak in the preseason this Sunday, Aug. 20, when the team faces the Los Angeles Chargers, which will air at 7 p.m. on the NFL

The Saints look to break a 10-game preseason losing streak against the Chargers.

Network. If the Saints are going to break their losing streak, they might have to do it without quarterback Drew Brees or running backs Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram.

It looks like the third week of the preseason will be the first time that Brees and a few other veterans hit the field. Brees’ absence in the first two preseason games wasn’t a big deal. The future Hall of Famer could fall out of bed and play well.

However, there are some things that New Orleans as a team could do better during the second preseason game. Both the offense and defense have areas where they can improve in this second week.

For one, the Saints’ offense must do better at protecting the ball against the Chargers. New Orleans had two fumbles in the opening preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. The first fumble led to a Browns touchdown, and the second fumble ended the game, as Cleveland was able to take a knee and run out the clock. New Orleans lost that game 20-14, but a different outcome might have been possible without those turnovers.

Another area in which the offense could improve is scoring. New Orleans managed just one touchdown and two field goals in the opening game. Brees didn’t play, but second-string quarterback Chase Daniel did, and he only managed a field goal in one of his two drives.

If something did happen to Brees, it would be nice to know that the offense, under Daniel, could still move the ball and score. In the next two games, Brees will get more work, so this could be the last time that the backups get a major chance to show what they can do in game situations.

New Orleans’ defense wasn’t terrible against the Browns, allowing just 20 points, but there is plenty of room for improvement on that side of the ball, particularly in stopping passes.

Cleveland was able to land several long passes in the second half, which set up scores. In that game, the Browns amassed 241 passing yards and completed four passes over 20 yards. Those same problems plagued the Saints’ defense last year, with teams passing at will for large chunks of yards. If they are going to turn things around this year, they will have to clean that up.

New Orleans didn’t force any turnovers during the game, either. The Saints’ defense has to learn to do that and get off the field, especially if they can’t fix the play in the secondary.
At the same time, there were a few highlights that the Saints could show more of this week.

For one, the offense ran the ball for 82 yards on 25 attempts, and that was without Peterson or Ingram on the field. If this team is going to focus more on ball control, those numbers need to keep getting better. The Saints also made only three first downs while rushing, which they will need to improve.

On defense, they limited the Browns to just 71 yards on 22 rushing attempts. That is not a bad showing, but Cleveland didn’t have a workhorse at running back either. Also worth noting, the Saints gave up seven first downs on the ground, which helped keep the Browns’ drive alive.

New Orleans’ front seven produced four sacks and seven quarterback hits, but the Saints will need to develop a pass rush as the preseason goes along and have it carry to the regular season.

What do you want to see when the Saints travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers? Tell me on Twitter @JFPSports and follow our account for all the action this preseason and regular season.