I’m going to really go out on a limb here and say that neither Latavius Murray nor Devonta Freeman make this roster, at least not at the expense of Tony Jones unless the Saints want to keep Dwayne Washington for special teams and go with five (in that case I would leave Murray on the roster over Freeman).
Last week, there was a report HC Sean Payton said Jones was going to be his number two back, at least at the time of his interview. The author said Freeman and Murray certainly haven’t done anything to dispel that notion, and that's been consistent with reports all summer. The story said the Saints do treat Murray like he’s going to be on the roster sometimes. The author is skeptical they’d pay him $4 million to be the third running back, so it all comes down to how much they like Jones. Kamara owners wanting to handcuff him should take note here. If possible, it may be a good idea to pick up Jones, however roster spots are tough to come by with the season not even underway. Those currently holding Kamara and Murray may have to act fast if they want to get Jones later vs. sooner.
Related Player: Taysom Hill
Winston won the job after a strong performance this past Monday during the Saints' preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Winston is John Paulsen's QB29 at the moment. His passing floor and ceiling were always higher than Hill's, but the role Hill plays in the Saints offense still makes him a potential streamer in Superflex and 2QB leagues.
Related Player: Juwan Johnson
Bad news for Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Trautman was/is expected to be the main catching tight end, while Vannett the main blocking tight end. Word out of camp has Juwan Johnson as a wild card following an impressive showing the past few weeks and could be the starting tight end to open 2021. The converted wide receiver saw a snap increase during New Orleans's Week 2 preseason game following injuries to Trautman and Vannett.
Related players: Taysom Hill
Rapoport said it wasn't just about piling up stats in the game against Jags recently. Rapoport showed a video with throws Winston made, claiming "Drew Brees hasn't been able to make in years." Winston also made the kind of big plays HC Sean Payton "has been dying see," according to Rapoport. Rapoport added if Winston starts, Hill would do similar "gadget stuff" like he's done in the past, which could certainly limit Winston's upside, much like it did with Brees at times last year.
ESPN's MNF broadcasters said Sean Payton raved about RB Tony Jones Jr. in pre-game production meetings and even said "If you’re asking me today, my No. 2 RB is Tony Jones." Payton used Jones a lot with the 1s to evaluate whether he'll move him ahead of vets Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman.
Related players: Alvin Kamara
Kamara owners take note. While the first thought is this could be coach-speak, we had a recent news story that Murray and Freeman have both looked unimpressive at times, especially in preseason Week 1. One beat writer speculated Freeman may end up passing Murray on the depth chart, but at this point it looks like Jones has a shot to blow by them all. The Saints RB2 can have stand alone value, but could have RB1 value should Kamara miss time. This battle is worth monitoring, especially Kamara owners.
“I think [Marquez Callaway]’s just an incredible football player,” Jameis Winston said. “I mean, the guy was undrafted, right? Who missed out on that guy? I’m happy that we were able to get him. It speaks volumes of our organization and how they see talent."
The Saints have been without wide receivers Thomas and Smith this summer due to injuries, but Callaway, you can argue, has been one of the most talked about WRs in summer camp this season - maybe even right up there with the Jets Elijah Moore. Callaway played on all 10 of the team's first 10 snaps as well, according to some of Tuesday's tweets. Callaway probably isn't an unknown anymore. But he's ranked 55th on our WR list and is available late in drafts. At this point, he certainly looks like he's worth the late-round pick.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Adam Trautman injured his foot, and while he received good news initially from on-site X-rays he will receive an MRI on Tuesday to identify what’s causing him “mild pain.”
Related players: Juwan Johnson
The fact that Trautman was able to move around under his own power — until the trainers gave him a lift on the cart to the locker room — suggests he avoided major injury, the story said. But the piece added this isn’t something we’ll really know much more about until the results from his MRI come in on Tuesday. Johnson would be next up on the depth chart at TE for the Saints.
It’s still too soon to say who wins the New Orleans Saints quarterbacks competition, but Sean Payton hopes to have his answer sooner rather than later. NBC Sports’ Peter King reports that a lot is riding on Jameis Winston’s opportunity to run the starting offense on Monday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, following Taysom Hill’s time with the starters a week ago in Baltimore. King wrote:
“Payton told me he hopes to name his starter before the final preseason game Saturday against Arizona, so Winston’s performance with the first team for multiple series will be the most important game he’s played since he lost his job in 2019 in Tampa Bay.”
The story went on to say: Unlike Hill, Winston should get full exposure with the strongest members of his supporting cast — Payton said last week that the team plans to dress several starters who sat out the preseason opener like Alvin Kamara and bookend tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk. The Times-Picayune Advocate’s Jeff Duncan adds that the Saints are approaching this as “their big preseason tuneup” with most starters expected to rest in the preseason finale with Arizona. At this point, it looks like it could be Winston's job to lose.
The duo combined for only 12 yards on 11 carries. Murray missed a block on a blitz pickup in the first quarter. Both players lost a fumble. Murray and Freeman could be battling each other for a roster spot, even though I assume Murray will make the team.
It's hard to believe Murray wouldn't be the team's RB2, at least based off last year's production. Whoever wins the job, it's worth noting especially for those wanting to handcuff Kamara. But, the team's RB2 could also have stand-alone value in certain leagues as well. Meanwhile, Jones Jr. stole the show among the running backs, according to the story, with 82 rushing yards on seven carries, including an 18-yard touchdown. The story added, at worst, Jones should be a practice squad player for the Saints.
Callaway is having a great camp and he's getting noticed - maybe not quite on Elijah Moore level, however. With Thomas scheduled to miss part of the season, Callaway certainly has a chance to earn significant time and could be worth a later-round pick.
- Never Start an Injured Player
- Get the latest news, content and rankings updates in your inbox.