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John DeShazier: Saints helmet stickers from loss to Vikings

Posted Sep 11, 2017

Coby Fleener stepped up on offense

OFFENSE: The New Orleans Saints are going to need some receivers to step up in the absence of Willie Snead IV, who served the first game of his three-game suspension Monday night. Tight end Coby Fleener looked ready for an increased role against the Vikings. Fleener caught five passes for 54 yards (both tied for team highs) and the Saints’ lone touchdown against Minnesota. His 24-yard snatch, contested on a nice seam route, was the kind of play that the Saints have envisioned from him. And he also showed a presence as a blocker, helping rookie left tackle Ryan Ramczyk deal with Vikings defensive end Everett Griffen on occasion. Bigger and better things are expected of Fleener in his second year as a Saint, and he looks willing and able to deliver.

DEFENSE: Every time defensive end Cam Jordan steps on the field, you expect production. He was as relentless as always Monday, producing the Saints’ only sack, drawing a holding penalty, batting a pass that he nearly intercepted in the end zone (it was a jaw-dropping play and he likely would’ve come up with his first career pick if linebacker A.J. Klein hadn’t crashed into him while pursuing the ball), and also producing two quarterback hits. He’s going to need some help, and soon, because he was the consistent pass rush threat. The Saints have to be the team that was disruptive against the pass in the preseason if they’re going to have any success defensively, and they’re going to have to play off Jordan better up front.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Literally, this honor could go to punter Thomas Morstead any game, and Monday was no exception. He punted three times for a 57-yard average, including 53.3 net. His 68-yarder rolled dead at the Vikings’ 5-yard line in the second quarter. Still, we’ll go in a different direction: rookie running back Trey Edmunds looks like a potential gem on special teams. His first tackle, on Minnesota’s opening kickoff return, was a tooth-rattler and his second, also on a kickoff in the second half, was just a little less of a thumper, but just as effective. Edmunds made the 53-man roster because of the potential for such plays, and he made the coaching staff look really, really smart against Minnesota. He may not have much of a role in the Saints’ crowded backfield, but he definitely has a niche as a special teamer.