As the Saints conclude their first week of training camp, many questions remain unanswered.
How has rookie edge rusher Marcus Davenport produced thus far? His quiet performance is as expected: A player who possesses almost every desired physical trait of a dominant edge rusher, but still needs to develop better technique, is not a candidate to make noise early in camp. Saints fans will have to wait for the team’s first preseason game to glimpse what he truly is capable of.
In the four games of Mark Ingram’s suspension, who will receive backfield touches that don’t go to Alvin Kamara? Veteran journeymen Terrance West and Shane Vereen are competing with Boston Scott, a rookie out of Louisiana Tech, for those snaps. Thus far, no runner has separated himself, but Vereen seems to be the favorite, for his versatility and experience trump that of West and Scott.
Who will return kicks and punts? Sean Payton is undecided: "Our return game is kind of like 'The Bachelor' right now," he said. "We've got about 12 contestants, all with roses. We don't know who our returner is gonna be . . . And if she doesn't like any of them, we'll bring in more."
As of today, Alvin Kamara is the team’s best returner, but the coaching staff does not want such an important offensive contributor playing on special teams until late in the season. So the team decided to sign 30-year-old veteran receiver Brandon Tate earlier this week. In nine seasons with the Patriots, Bengals, and Bills, Tate has returned 200 career punts an average of 9.5 yards and 247 kickoffs an average of 23.8 yards with three touchdowns.
The Saints also signed receiver Michael Floyd, who sports career totals of 3,859 yards, 256 receptions, and 24 touchdowns in six seasons as a pro. However, he hasn’t been that productive since his career was derailed by a 2016 arrest for an extreme DUI.
Tate and Floyd join a now-crowded receiver room, inhabited by incumbents Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Jr., Tommylee Lewis, and Brandon Coleman, along with free agent acquisition Cameron Meredith and rookie Tre’Quan Smith, who has surpassed expectations in the first week of camp.