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New Orleans Saints receiver Chris Olave impressed in first NFL month

'When I get targeted, I want to bring in every pass that's thrown my way'

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) and fullback Adam Prentice (46) during practice on Wednesday, Sept. 29 2022 in London. (AP Photo/Ant Upton)

In the last two games, New Orleans Saints rookie receiver Chris Olave has been targeted 26 times (13 in each), produced 14 catches for 197 yards and sounded wholly unimpressed with himself over it.

"I've definitely got a lot of room," Olave said. "I feel like I haven't played my best game yet, I feel like I can clean up a lot of things.

"When I get targeted, I want to bring in every pass that's thrown my way. I haven't done that so far, but I'm getting better every week and that's all that matters."

Getting better, in fact, is this: Olave was named the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month for September, after finishing with 17 catches for 268 yards in three games. Entering Sunday's game against Minnesota at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Olave leads New Orleans in both categories.

"He's been a playmaker for us," offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael said. "When you look back, there's also been some missed opportunities for him. So we felt great when we drafted him about the player that he was, and I think he's meeting those expectations."

Mostly, the missed opportunities were deep-ball attempts against Tampa Bay, when Olave caught five passes (for 80 yards) on his 13 targets. That disconnect smoothed to a degree against Carolina, when he had receptions of 49 and 38 yards.

"Just trying to get comfortable," Olave said. "I'm still getting comfortable with the offense. It's only Week 4, but I just feel like I'm playing football. Just having fun out there. I'm having a lot of fun and my teammates are pushing me on, I feel like they're making me better at the end of the day. Just playing fast, that's what I do. I feel like that's why I've gotten off to a fast start."

Though Olave has yet to record his first NFL touchdown, he caught a critical two-point conversion pass against Atlanta in the season opener, as New Orleans erased a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit and posted the largest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history.

Now, with the Saints 1-2 and on a two-game losing streak entering Sunday, Olave said the main goal is to get back in the win column.

"We came out to a rough start, but take it one day at a time, try to get better every day, to come out with a win would be huge," he said. "But we're trying to get better every day, trying to clean up everything and put our best foot forward on Sunday."

He said working on the small nuances will add up to big gains.

"Just route timing, trying to clean it up in practice," he said. "A lot of little things that carry over into the game, I'm working on that throughout the week."

It helps having mentors in the receiving room like Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, who have NFL Offensive Player of the Year (Thomas) and Pro Bowl appearances (both) on their resumes.

"They're like big brothers to me," Olave said. "They've been through the league for a good amount of time. They've done what I want to do in this league. I kind of look up to them, and they teach me a lot from practice to games, even off the field. They're great mentors to me and I've just taken that role to keep getting better.

"Just having them on the field helps me a lot. Knowing their mind-set – we have similar mindsets, to go out there and compete – but just having them on the other side of the field, and being on the same team as them, it makes it a lot easier for me."

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