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Expect to see lots of quarterback Ian Book in New Orleans Saints preseason opener

Rookie left tackle Trevor Penning also could play a good amount

New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Thursday, August 11.
New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Thursday, August 11.

Be mindful that this is mainly speculative, a spitball view of what might happen in terms of the New Orleans Saints' playing rotation in their preseason opener Saturday night against Houston.

Unless it hits, of course.

If that happens, any mention of "genius" will be acceptable.

So, how will it play out for the Saints against the Texans at 7 p.m. Saturday?

FIRST QUARTER: SAINTS vs. TEXANS

Expect a decent amount of bubble-wrapping due to precaution or injury. So I'm not expecting to see receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II, tight end Taysom Hill, defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport, linebacker Demario Davis, defensive tackle David Onyemata, safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye or cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Alontae Taylor, among others. No reason for them to be put to the hazard in the preseason opener. Maybe a series from quarterback Andy Dalton, though, and some time for first-round picks Chris Olave and Trevor Penning. Penning won't start at left tackle, but he should see a decent amount of snaps. Olave could open at receiver, and the starting offensive line (minus Ramczyk, insert Landon Young) might have a series or two. Ian Book enters early at quarterback, and he's going to play a lot. Playing with the starters and No. 2s will benefit him, and keep in mind that he'll tuck it and run. It's sensible to assume Tony Jones Jr.  opens at running back, since he knows the system best among the trio of him, Devine Ozigbo and Abram Smith. On defense, early snaps (and exits) from corners Paulson Adebo and Bradley Roby, nickel C.J. Gardner-Johnson and defensive end Payton Turner.

SECOND QUARTER: SAINTS vs. TEXANS

Book remains at quarterback, mainly behind the No. 2 offensive line. If Jones isn't at running back, expect Ozigbo to get the next at-bat. Olave might still be in at receiver, along with Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harty. Adam Trautman will be off the field by now at tight end, so Nick Vannett or Juwan Johnson will be there. Kaden Elliss started at linebacker; he'll be off the field but Andrew Dowell and Eric Wilson still will be in the lineup. J.T. Gray and Justin Evans have already entered at safety. Keep an eye on Book, he could shine under the right conditions and conditions might be favorable for him.

THIRD QUARTER: SAINTS vs. TEXANS

More Book. Expect him to play at least half the quarter, maybe even the entire quarter. Receiver combination could be Kevin White, Kirk Merritt, Dai'Jean Dixon. Merritt and Dixon have been impressive in camp; White could use a good showing at the position in preseason games. Ozigbo probably is still in at running back, depending on how the snaps went for Jones early, to give him a few more reps before he subs out. Fan fave Lucas Krull has snaps at tight end, and offensive line unit includes Ethan Greenidge and Nick Martin (who played majority of first half). Penning plays most of the first half and maybe leaks into the third quarter. Abram Smith comes in at running back before the quarter ends. Plenty of snaps at cornerback for the combination of Vincent Gray, DaMarcus Fields, Quenton Meeks and Jordan Brown.

FOURTH QUARTER: SAINTS vs. TEXANS

If Book starts the fourth at quarterback, K.J. Costello finishes it with Smith in the backfield. Smith bears watching; he's a physical runner, tackling in the preseason opener isn't exactly at its peak and he could pop off a punishing run or two. He'll be playing behind backups on the offensive line, but he'll be playing against backups on defense, too. Easop Winston Jr. and Rashid Shaheed can provide some juice at receiver. Costello hasn't had a ton of time or reps, so hopefully he retained what he learned during the offseason. If it comes down to a kick, John Parker Romo is the guy. If Wil Lutz kicks, it'll probably be an early field goal attempt or maybe a point-after, but there's nothing for him to prove in the preseason opener.

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