MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The New Orleans Saints are one of many teams with a plethora of unknowns and uncertainties heading into the 2022 season, but the post Sean Payton era remains the largest question mark. How does an organization who has lost its two largest contributors in consecutive seasons move on?
Drew Brees is two years removed from the organization and first-year head coach Dennis Allen now has former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston under center. Allen, however, is an in-house hire as he spent the last seven seasons in a defensive coordinator role for the Saints.
Allen will have a nice addition to his offense with the return of All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas, who spent part of his 2020 season and entirety of his 2021 campaign on the sidelines due to an ankle injury.
In addition to returning an NFL-record breaking receiver in Thomas, the Saints acquired former LSU standout Jarvis Landry and cornerback Tyrann Mathieu in free agency, among others. New Orleans drafted Ohio State All-American Chris Olave No. 11 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft along with the No. 19 overall selection, offensive lineman Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa.
The following is a list of all the 2022 NFL draft picks by the Saints:
- No. 11 overall — Chris Olave (WR, Ohio State)
- No. 19 overall — Trevor Penning (OL, Northern Iowa)
- No. 49 overall — Alontae Taylor (CB, Tennessee)
- No. 161 overall — D’Marco Jackson (LB, Appalachian State)
- No. 194 overall — Jordan Jackson (DT, Air Force)
The Saints are in their second week of training camp with star running back Alvin Kamara despite being under investigation, Kamara, who was set for an August 1 court hearing, did not appear. The hearing is now pushed back two months. Kamara and others face charges for allegedly attacking a man in Las Vegas in February.
Watch preseason games on WKRG
The New Orleans Saints have a three-game preseason schedule set beginning Saturday, August 13. Here is a look at the full schedule including TV times. You can watch all three games on WKRG.
|Saturday, August 13||@ Texans||7 p.m./WKRG|
|Friday, August 19||@ Packers||7 p.m./WKRG|
|Friday, August 26||vs. Chargers||7 p.m./WKRG|
Texans matchup breakdown
The last time these two have faced off kicked off the 2019 regular season resulting in a 30-28 Saints victory. Aforementioned Brees tossed two touchdowns while Thomas racked up 123 receiving yards. Current kicker Will Lutz hit a 58-yard field goal as time expired to earn the win.
Players to look out for on Houston (Head Coach: Lovie Smith)
- Derek Stingley Jr.: No. 3 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, cornerback (LSU)
- Dameon Pierce: No. 107 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, running back (Florida)
- Jonathan Greenard: entering third season with the Texans, defensive end
Packers matchup breakdown
The Saints and Packers have quite an extended history in the NFC matching up several times in the playoffs, but they most recently played in the 2021 NFL regular season opener. The Saints beat the Packers 38-3 behind, at the time, first year quarterback with the team, Jameis Winston and his five passing touchdowns.
Players to look out for on Green Bay (Head Coach: Matt LaFleur)
- Quay Walker: No. 22 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, linebacker (UGA)
- Devonte Wyatt: No. 28 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, defensive tackle (UGA)
- Juwann Winfree: 2019 sixth round NFL Draft pick by Denver, wide receiver
Chargers matchup breakdown
The Chargers and Saints last matched up during week five of the 2020 NFL regular season resulting in a 30-27 (OT) win for New Orleans. Likewise to the last time they played the Texans, kicker Will Lutz nailed a 37-yard field goal in overtime earning the win.
Players to look out for on Los Angeles (Head Coach: Brandon Staley)
- Zion Johnson: No. 17 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, offensive lineman (Boston College)
- Isaiah Spiller: No. 123 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, running back (Texas A&M)
- Deane Leonard: No. 236 overall in 2022 NFL Draft, cornerback (Ole Miss)
WKRG will show each of the three games on Channel 5.