It's not cliché: Jobs can be won and lost in the final preseason game.
True, there have been training camp practices and two preseason games in which facts were established and opinions were swayed, but a breakout performance here and there in the preseason finale for the New Orleans Saints, at noon Saturday against Arizona in the Caesars Superdome, might go a long way for a few down-the-line players.
Here are a few of them that might be worth watching:
RECEIVER KEVIN WHITE:
The two drops against Jacksonville, obviously, didn't help his cause. For White, that hopefully was attributable to rust, nerves or unfamiliarity, or some combination of those factors and others. Whatever the case, he can't just look the part; he needs to be the part. Beyond Marquez Callaway, Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harris – and, maybe, Chris Hogan – there is a decent amount of jockeying going on for the final receiver spots. Being able to contribute on special teams (like rookie Kawaan Baker, and Easop Winston Jr.) is helpful. But White is healthy, and has all the tools to be a good fit for New Orleans. It's up to him to make the team feel good about the choice.
LINEBACKER CHASE HANSEN:
New Orleans looks deep at this position. Hansen's contributions have been limited to special teams as a Saint, and he can be of value there. But with Kwon Alexander having returned from a ruptured Achilles, Zack Baun emerging, Kaden Elliss showing signs of great improvement, Andrew Dowell looking like a keeper and rookie Pete Werner working back into the rotation, reps at linebacker could be scarce for Hansen. If and when he gets them in this preseason game, he has to make the most of them, and he has to show up on special teams, too. Of course, he also is a practice squad candidate, but entering his third season, he and the Saints probably are hoping for more than that.
RUNNING BACK DEVONTA FREEMAN:
If Tony Jones Jr. truly is the No. 2 or 3 running back, Latavius Murray has had several productive games on his resume for the Saints, and Dwayne Washington is a mainstay because of his work on special teams, then Freeman probably is on the outside looking in. But that could change with a solid showing. Freeman has production listed on his resume, too, and as Coach Sean Payton says, players aren't only auditioning for spots on the Saints' roster – they're auditioning for jobs around the league. Freeman still looks good as a runner and receiver (yes, he fumbled in the preseason opener, but so did Jones and Murray) and he probably can help a team this season, if it's not the Saints.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE ALBERT HUGGINS:
Honestly, you probably can put any defensive tackle not named David Onyemata on this list. Onyemata will be suspended the first six regular-season games, and Jalen Dalton is on injured reserve. There is as much opportunity at the position as there has been in quite some time, and Huggins has a chance to seize it.