After a 20-14 victory, the Los Angeles Rams came to town with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. For the second straight season, the season ended in controversial fashion for the Saints.
New Orleans was on the wrong end of the Minnesota Miracle in 2017. Last season, they were on the wrong end of one of the worst non-calls in NFL history. This caused a rule change in the NFL, but it did not change the outcome of that game.
In 2019, the Saints will return all of their key players. Alvin Kamara will look to solidify himself as one of the best duel threat backs in the NFL. Michael Thomas has quickly turned into a top receiver in the NFL. Both players are on a dynamic Saints’ offense led by future Hall of Famer Drew Brees.
With training camp right around the corner, now is the time for players to make a name for themselves. The Saints are no different. This an important time of the year for players who want to make an impact on the field.
Here are three players who have the most to gain in training camp for the Saints.
3. Latavius Murray
Murray fell far in Minnesota last season. He was a 1,000-yard rusher in 2015 for the Oakland Raiders. In 2016, he had 12 rushing touchdowns. Just two seasons later in Minnesota, Murray carried the ball 216 times.
It seemed as though he would be the Vikings every-down back, but that was not the case. Murray finished last season with 140 carries for 578 yards. Now, he resides in New Orleans backing up Kamara.
Heading into camp, Murray is looking to prove that he can still be a successful running back. Is there a better system to be in than New Orleans?
Kamara is the ultimate duel threat back, however, he is not bulletproof and will need some snaps off. Mark Ingram served as Kamara’s sidekick over the last two seasons, and now Murray will step into that role. In a Saints’ uniform, Murray has a chance to return to rushing for double-digit touchdowns.
He has to prove in camp that he can handle the workload and understand the Saints’ offense.
2. Taysom Hill
Hill was Mr. Do It All for the Saints in his second season. He was originally drafted as a quarterback out of BYU. Last season, he went 3-7 for 64 yards as a quarterback. He had three catches, but was used primarily as a ball carrier.
Hill was the Saints’ kick returner while rushing 37 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Hill played the role that many believed Tim Tebow would eventually fall into. He proved to be a position-less football player, but can he survive in the league that way?
Teddy Bridgewater re-signed with the Saints in hopes of being their quarterback once Brees decides to hang his cleats up. There does not seem to be any plans of making Hill a full-time quarterback.
Heading into his third season, Hill needs to prove that he can last in the NFL without a steady position. He will be a big part of the Saints’ game plan once again this season.
In training camp, Hill will workout as many positions and continue to be Mr. Do It All.
1. Alex Anzalone
Anzalone is a third-year player out of Florida. His rookie campaign was cut short by a shoulder injury, but he played all 16 games last season. Anzalone was tied for fourth on the team in tackles with 59 while finishing with three forced fumbles, two sacks, and one interception.
In 2018, Anzalone proved to be an every down defender. He is an exceptional athlete with the ability to cover man-to-man. Anzalone blitzes with authority because he is a great runner. He was part of a Saints’ linebacking core that was strong.
The Saints have a player in Anzalone that can be the next big thing at the linebacker position. He has the ability to play inside and out.
Heading into training camp, Anzalone can prove even more that he is an every down defender who can be the leader of a defense.