An inside look at the Saints rookies during their regular season debut against the Minnesota Vikings.
Four members of the 2017 rookie class started for the Saints in their nationally-televised season opener: cornerback Marshon Lattimore (first round), left tackle Ryan Ramczyk (first round), safety Marcus Williams (second round) and linebacker Alex Anzalone (third round), and running back Alvin Kamara (third round) played more snaps than any running back.
"I thought overall, I was fairly pleased with the young players," Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday morning during his teleconference with the media. "Certainly, there's a ton of things we've got to clean up on tape. We've got a short week to do it so that's what we're preparing to do right now."
Payton said that while it probably was toward the higher number of rookies to start a season opener since he became Saints coach in 2006, the number wasn't as important as the production.
"In other words, we're starting the best players, guys that feel like give us the best chance to win," he said.
NEW NAMES, FACES ON D: The three rookie starters on defense were part of a major overhaul from last season. Seven new starters debuted on defense for the Saints, and that excludes cornerback P.J. Williams, who opened last season as a new starter but only played about six quarters before his season ended due to a concussion.
"Part of it is trying to put the players in the best position possible to have success," Payton said. "Now, are they doing what they're being asked, do they know what to do? These are a few of the things we've got to evaluate these players on. But clearly, with the way we had played in the past, that wasn't good enough. That wouldn't be very smart (to stay with the same personnel). And that's still ongoing. This tape isn't a good tape for them to come in and watch this morning."
GOOD DEFENSE, BETTER OFFENSE: The Vikings scored a touchdown just before halftime Monday night, a 2-yard pass from Sam Bradford to Stefon Diggs, in which Diggs made a back-shoulder grab over Saints cornerback De'Vante Harris. Harris was in good position, Payton said.
"That is a good play. His coverage is good. You have a receiver, you really have a good throw location. That's part of playing corner and we'll continue to work but I think he's competing there and in position. Got to give them credit from a throw and catch standpoint. We try to do that often with (Saints receiver) Mike (Thomas).
DORENBOS UPDATE: Long snapper Jon Dorenbos reported Tuesday that he was about to undergo open heart surgery. Dorenbos was diagnosed by the Saints with an aortic aneurism, discovered by team physician Dr. John Amoss, and open heart surgery was recommended.
"I haven't heard any word back, I'm waiting," Payton said. "I know those were his plans and I know he had selected a surgeon. Hopefully, we hear something sooner than later but as of this morning, I hadn't heard."