Question 1: How has Derek Carr looked through his first six weeks as a Saint, and how does it compare to expectations for him entering the season?
He has been up and down. I wouldn’t say they’ve won or lost any games because of him, and in his worst game of the year against the Bucs, I don’t think he should have played because of a lingering shoulder injury. The offense as a whole has not been scoring much, and the offensive line and play calling are not doing Carr any favors. I think we expected the offensive line to be a bit better but the play calling has been an issue since Sean Payton left. The expectation was we would be around 4-2 at this point so the record isn’t that far off, but the offense and Derek Carr so far have definitely failed the eye test.
Q2: Carr is one of 14 players on the Saints’ injury report this week. Other big names (like Cameron Jordan, Ryan Ramczyk, Demario Davis, and Chris Olave) are also on there. How significant are some of these injuries?
They are all significant, but I don’t expect every significant player on the injury report to miss the game. The most significant injuries would be those to the offensive tackles. Three of the four tackles on the roster are questionable, and the best of them, Ryan Ramczyk, is in the concussion protocol, so I’d say there’s a real chance he is unable to go on the short week. The OL has struggled this year, so if they have to turn to two backups or don’t have Ramczyk available to block Josh Allen and Travon Walker they will be in real trouble.
Q3: There are many respected albeit old names on this roster. Who are some young players emerging on the Saints that Jaguars fans should know about?
A few names come to mind, the first being Carl Granderson. He isn’t technically young (it’s his 5th year in the league), but this is his first year as a starter and he’s already one sack away from setting a career high through 6 games. He has made an impact on nearly every game this year and has been a great compliment to Cam Jordan this year, which is why the Saints have already signed him to an extension.
Another young player I would single out would be Rashid Shaheed. He was undrafted out of Weber State where he was a 4-time All-American and set the FCS record for most kickoff return touchdowns. He is coming into his own as a receiver in addition to his skills as a return man, and he has arguably been the Saints most explosive player on offense this season.
I would also keep an eye on rookie DT Bryan Bresee. He isn’t an every down player yet but when he’s in he has shown flashes. The Jags might be without both Brandon Scherff and Walker Little this week, so don’t be surprised if Bresee gets after his former teammates at Clemson this week.
Q4: How does New Orleans feel about Dennis Allen? Is there more hope in the Big Easy for a playoff berth or a new regime?
The feelings on Allen are mixed. I think all would agree he has been underwhelming but not everyone would say they need to make a change now. He is a great defensive coach, and that side of the ball has not been the issue during his tenure. The issue has been the offense, and I think everyone who is a fan of the Saints would tell you they need to make a change at OC as soon as possible. I am in the camp that they should change OC and keep Allen for now, as Allen is an asset for the defense, but there are many who would tell you they should totally clean house after this year if it doesn’t turn around.
Q5: The Saints are 1-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Which side of the spread are you taking, and are there any player/game props that stand out to you?
I think I would favor the Jags in this one, as I just don’t think the Saints can score enough to beat teams their defense can’t dominate. Their only path to victory in my eyes is if they can get to Trevor consistently and maybe force a few sack fumbles. They may be able to take advantage of the Jags secondary if Tyson Campbell doesn’t play, but the Jags defensive line is going to get after Carr which I think will limit the Saints ability to pass downfield, which they don’t really do much anyway. The Jags offense and defense and the Saints defense are all playing very well, but the Saints offense has been terrible at times and I just don’t think they will be able to score enough in this matchup without help from the defense.
Thanks to Hayden for taking the time to answer our questions!
What are your thoughts on this week’s matchup, Jaguars fans? Let us know in the comments!