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Lil'Jordan Humphrey making hard work pay off for New Orleans Saints

'Just trying to be the best player I could possibly be'

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The New Orleans Saints take on the Buffalo Bills at the Caesars Superdome in Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season.

Lil'Jordan Humphrey's answer, is "work."

Doesn't really matter what the question is that's posed to the New Orleans Saints' third-year receiver. His answer likely will revolve around work, because that's what it has taken for him to maneuver his way back onto the active gameday roster the last two games for the Saints.

Humphrey will look to make it three straight games Thursday night, when the Saints (5-6) play Dallas (7-4) in the Caesars Superdome.

Humphrey, who joined the Saints as an undrafted rookie in 2019, has caught four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown in the last two games. While those numbers are modest, they're representative of his inclusion lately, after being inactive for six games in a seven-game stretch (though, in fairness, he missed two of those games due to Covid-19 protocols).

"Just a lot of work," he said. "Just trying to be the best player I could possibly be. And just so I can go on field, stay on the field and kind of find my role for the team. That's kind of just how it's been. Just grinding, trying to find my way."

That pretty much has been Humphrey's status since he made the roster. He has eight career catches in 13 games, and has been targeted a career-high eight times for his five catches this season.

But the 6-foot-4, 225-pounder keeps plugging until the opportunities arise.

"I mean, I feel like I'm an even-keel guy," he said. "Just stay the same, right? Not everything will go your way all the time. So it's always just about going out there, working my butt off and just staying ready, just in case Coach (Sean Payton) does call me up and be able to play. So I'm just trying to stay ready."

Humphrey led the Saints with 47 receiving yards in their 31-6 loss to Buffalo on Thanksgiving night, and saw his playing time increase over the last two games.

"I feel like I have gained the coaches trust a little bit more," he said. "And that's part of the reason why, so I hopefully I can gain some more trust to hopefully get a bigger role."

And in order for that to happen, Humphrey knows what he must do: Keep working to gain more trust from the coaching staff, and more separation from the opponent.

"Just blocking, knowing the scheme, being able to get open, just knowing that I'm going to get open," he said. "I feel like I struggled with that over the past couple of years. So just something that I've worked on and now they're starting to trust me a little bit more.

"Just knowing, like, different situations, understanding like how the body works as a (defensive back), how corners work and what he does well, what he does not do well. Just understanding the game and the little details of the receiver aspect. I think that was the biggest thing that helped me get more separation."

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