THE MATCHUP: SAINTS VS. CARDINALS PRESEASON WEEK 3
On Saturday, August 28, the New Orleans Saints (1-1) will finish out a preseason that will have featured 21 practices, three preseason contests and countless hours of sweat in the weight room, as well as attention to detail in the meeting rooms at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center as they host the Arizona Cardinals (1-1) at noon on Saturday, August 28, 2021. It will be New Orleans' final dress rehearsal before they make their regular season debut against the Green Bay Packers in the Caesars Superdome on Sunday, Sept. 12.
New Orleans and Arizona have met in six exhibitions, with the Black and Gold holding a 5-1 edge. The regular season series is tied 15-15 with New Orleans having won the last two, while the Saints have captured the only postseason meeting.
SAINTS-CARDINALS SERIES HISTORY
The Saints and Cardinals have played 30 times in the regular season, with the Saints split. The Cardinals won the first three games in the series, including both played in 1968 when they were in the NFL Century division. The Saints won their first game against the Cardinals on Nov. 2, 1969, 51-42 at Busch Stadium. In another memorable contest, the Saints beat the Cardinals 14-0 on Dec. 8, 1974 in the team's final contest played at Tulane Stadium. In the last regular season meeting, New Orleans held the Cardinals out of the end zone in a 31-9 home victory on October 27, 2019. The Saints lead the preseason series 5-1, their sole blemish being a 20-15 home loss on August 17, 2018.
CARDINALS IN WEEK 2 OF THE 2021 NFL PRESEASON
"Not real sharp offensively, obviously," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "But that happens. They played good defensively. We have a lot to work on this week."
The Cardinals went three-and-out three times and in those nine snaps, Murray, who did not speak to the media, had a scramble of eight yards, was sacked twice and he completed 1-of-4 passes for two yards. The Cards (1-1) had minus-1 yard of offense when the first unit came out of the game.
The Cards close out their preseason schedule Aug. 28 in New Orleans. Kyler Murray's potential to play is an unknown – Kingsbury said the team will continue to take Murray's playing status "week to week."
Cardinals backup quarterback Colt McCoy was 13-for-18 for 113 yards and an interception (which was an amazing diving end-zone grab by Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill.) Third-stringer Chris Streveler had a beautiful 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ross Travis.
And Kingsbury credited the defense, although "we were out there way too many plays," Kingsbury said.
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SAINTS IN WEEK 2 OF THE 2021 NFL PRESEASON
Saints' Week 2 Recap: Saints vs. Jaguars game recap: New Orleans holds on for 23-21 victory
Saints 23, Jaguars 21; August 23, 2021 @ Caesars Superdome – First and foremost, the New Orleans Saints won on Monday night in the Caesars Superdome and preseason game or not, if a score is being kept, it's always good to be on the plus side of it. Second, though, was the fact that the Saints showed improvement in two important categories in their 23-21 victory over Jacksonville, dropping their turnovers from six to none from the preseason opener and slicing their penalties from 10 to six. Those numbers helped New Orleans overcome its third-down shortage (2 of 10 on third down) and to maximize the big plays it generated.
And Monday night definitely was an occasion during which the Saints flashed some big-play potential, to the tune of acrobatic, 43- and 29-yard touchdown passes from Jameis Winston to Marquez Callaway in the first quarter that allowed New Orleans to grab a 14-0 lead in a game it never trailed.
Winston (9 of 10 for 123 yards and two touchdowns) and Callaway (five catches for 104 yards and two scores) were synched offensively. That unit scored touchdowns on two of three possessions with Winston on the field, as Callaway capped 72- and 57-yard drives with contested catches in the end zone, one he finished despite pass interference, and the second he completed one-handed while his right arm was grabbed and pinned. And despite a slow start, Taysom Hill also led a touchdown drive. Hill completed 11 of 20 passes for 138 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to Lil'Jordan Humphrey, who caught four passes for 74 yards.
The New Orleans Saints host the Jacksonville Jaguars during preseason play at the Caesars Superdome on August 23, 2021.
All told, New Orleans totaled 369 yards on 61 plays, but averaged 13.3 yards on its 24 completions. Coach Sean Payton said the Saints expected to come out throwing because of Jacksonville's effectiveness against the run. The efficiency of Winston, Callaway's ability to find opening after opening and a clean pocket made for a successful strategy. That was more than enough for the Saints' first-team defense.
At halftime, Jacksonville had 134 yards and a field goal, was 3 of 8 on third down and 0 for 2 in the red zone. The Saints forced three-and-outs on three of Jacksonville's first four possessions and on one second-quarter drive, cornerback Ken Crawley broke up a pass at the goal line, and safeties Marcus Williams and C.J. Gardner-Johnson broke up passes inside the 10-yard line. The Saints produced 10 pass breakups (the Jaguars had 58 pass attempts), two sacks, seven quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and an interception.
What could have been a standout night in the kicking game was smudged by a missed point-after attempt in the third quarter. But Aldrick Rosas drilled a 52-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, exhibiting the distance that Payton noted after the Saints signed Rosas.
NEW ORLEANS-ARIZONA STATISTICAL COMPARISON
2020 Final NFL Regular Season Rankings
|Scoring Avg. (NFL Rank)||30.1(5)||25.6 (13)|
|Opp. Scoring Avg. (NFL Rank)||21.1 (5)||22.9 (12)|
|Total Off. (NFL Rank)||376.4 (9)||384.6 (6)|
|Rushing Off. (NFL Rank)||141.6 (7)||139.8 (7)|
|Passing Off. (NFL Rank)||234.9 (19)||244.8 (17)|
|Total Def. (NFL Rank)||310.9 (4)||351.9 (13)|
|Rushing Def. (NFL Rank)||93.9 (4)||125.5 (22)|
|Passing Def. (NFL Rank)||217.0 (5)||226.4 (10)|
|Kickoff Return Avg. (NFL Rank)||25.4 (6)||21.9 (18)|
|Punt Return Avg. (NFL Rank)||10.2 (8)||5.4 (29)|
|Turnover Margin (NFL Rank)||+9 (3t)||even (17t)|
|Opp. Penalty Yards||517||841|
Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury spent the 2004 season on the Saints practice squad
New Orleans wide receiver Kevin White went to training camp with the Cardinals in 2019
Saints Special Teams Coordinator Darren Rizzi, Cardinals Wide Receivers Coach Shawn Jefferson and Outside Linebackers Coach Charlie Bullen served on the same Miami Dolphins coaching staff from 2016-18
Arizona safety Chris Banjo played for New Orleans from 2016-18
New Orleans tight end Nick Vannett and Cardinals running back James Conner were teammates in Pittsburgh in 2019
Cardinals offensive lineman Marcus Henry was originally signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2016
Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Cardinals cornerback Marco Wilson were teammates in the same University of Florida secondary in 2018
New Orleans defensive tackle Christian Ringo, Cardinals cornerback Darqueze Dennard, safety Shawn Williams and wide receiver A.J. Green were teammates with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017
Cardinals Assistant Special Teams Coach Devin Fitzsimmons is a Folsom native
Saints defensive back J.T. Gray spent his junior season at Coolidge (Ariz.) HS, where he earned Arizona Division IV Section II first team as a defensive back and second team as a running back in 2012. Gray and Cardinals Offensive lineman Shaq Calhoun were college teammates at Mississippi State in 2017
Cardinals Offensive Assistant Jerry Sullivan enjoyed two tenures as an assistant at Louisiana State University (1984-90, 2017-18)
New Orleans linebacker Pete Werner and Arizona offensive lineman Brandon Bowen were college teammates at Ohio State
Arizona defensive end Margus Hunt played for New Orleans in 2020
New Orleans defensive end Payton Turner and Cardinals offensive lineman Josh Jones were teammates at University of Houston
Cardinals cornerback Robert Alford prepped at Hammond (La.) HS and played at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Saints safety Jeff Heath and Crawford were teammates in Dallas from 2014-16. Heath and Arizona center Rodney Hudson were teammates with Las Vegas in 2020
Saints wide receiver Chris Hogan, Arizona cornerback Malcolm Butler and linebacker Chandler Jones were teammates with the New England Patriots. Butler prepped at Vicksburg (Miss.) HS and played at Hinds (Miss.) Community College
Saints G/T James Hurst and Cardinals TE Maxx Williams were teammates in Baltimore from 2015-18
New Orleans G J.R. Sweezy appeared in 29 games with 26 starts at guard for the Cardinals from 2019-20
Cardinals CB Picasso Nelson prepped at Oak Grove (Hattiesburg, Miss.) HS and played at Southern Mississippi
Saints P Nicholas Cooney and Cardinals OL Koda Martin were college teammates at Syracuse
Cardinals DT Rashard Lawrence prepped at Neville (Monroe, La.) HS and played at LSU as a teammate of Saints G/C Will Clapp in 2017
Arizona OLB Devon Kennard's father Derek Kennard Jr. played for the Saints
Saints QB Trevor Siemian, Arizona LS Aaron Brewer and OL Max Garcia were teammates in Denver in 2015
Siemian, Poole and Jets T Kelvin Beachum were teammates with the New York Jets in 2019
Saints Vice President of Player Development Fred McAfee played for the Cardinals in 1994
Cardinals Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers and Saints Senior Offensive Assistant/Wide Receivers Curtis Johnson served on the same Chicago staff in 2016
Cardinals Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph has a history in the New Orleans area, attending Archbishop Shaw (Marrero) HS, where he led his team to a 37-6 record in three seasons as the starting quarterback and won the 4A state championship as a sophomore. He earned USA Today honorable mention All-American as a senior and also lettered all four seasons in basketball. His older brother Mickey, is currently the wide receivers coach at LSU. Joseph was tutored by Saints Senior Defensive Assistant Peter Giunta with the New York Jets in 1995
New Orleans DL Josiah Bronson, Arizona WR Andre Baccellia and CB Byron Murphy Jr. were college teammates at the University of Washington
New Orleans LB Chase Hansen prepped at Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) HS and both he and S Marcus Williams played at the University of Utah. Hansen and Williams played with Cardinals TE Kylie Fitts and DT Leki Fotu at Utah
Cardinals Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Tom Clements was quarterbacks coach for the Saints from 1997-99
Saints Pass Rush Specialist Brian Young and Cardinals Assistant Offensive Line Coach Brian Natkin were college teammates at UTEP
Cardinals Defensive Backs Coach Marcus Robertson served on Allen's staff when he was head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2014. Allen tutored Crawford with the Raiders from 2012-13, where Crawford was also a teammate of Saints RB Latavius Murray in 2013
Saints DE Cameron Jordan prepped at Chandler (Ariz.) HS
Arizona Running Backs Coach James Saxon and Rizzi served on the same Miami staff in 2010
New Orleans RB Dwayne Washington, Cardinals S Budda Baker and ILB Ezekiel Turner were college teammates at Washington. Washington and Arizona TE Darrell Daniels were college teammates at the University of Washington. Vannett and Daniels were teammates in Seattle in 2018. Washington and Cardinals K Matt Prater were teammates in Detroit.
Saints T/G Andrus Peat prepped at Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) HS and his father Todd, played for the Cardinals from 1987-89. Peat and Cardinals DLs Josh Mauro and David Parry were college teammates at Stanford. Parry appeared in one game for the Saints in 2017.