Two impressive things about the Saints.
One: their rookie class. Kenny Stills, the fifth-round receiver from Oklahoma, made a great catch against the Texans down the left sideline on a bomb, and first-round safety Kenny Vaccaro has fit in seamlessly and shows good instincts around the line; he made a good tackle on a run blitz. Another first-year player (technically not a rookie), wideout Andy Tanner, made a fingertip touchdown catch from ex-Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin. But I liked the two defensive linemen who shone Sunday: third-round tackle John Jenkins, who has some Wilfork-type moves for a 350-pound man, and undrafted free agent end Glenn Foster, who had a sack and a quarterback pressure. How is someone as athletic as Glenn Foster not drafted? Probably comes from a decided lack of production—four sacks in 23 college starts at Illinois—but he looked promising Sunday.
Two: defensive end Cameron Jordan, who had a sack and was buzzing around Matt Schaub for much of the first quarter. Jordan and J.J. Watt were the best big ends in the 2011 draft, and he looked to have some of Watt’s quickness, spin moves and strength Sunday. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan plans to move Jordan—son of former NFL tight end Steve Jordan—around on the defense. Sort of like last year. “I was a Swiss Army knife last year,” he said after the game. “I played everywhere. I think that’s how I’ll be used again, which is fine. I can excel wherever they put me.” The Saints need the combination of Jordan, Junior Gallette and Akiem Hicks (and the rookies) to pressure the passer. It’s essential if Rob Ryan’s pressured defense is going to work.