Even with a touchdown catch among his three receptions in the preseason opener against Baltimore, it wasn't one of Lil'Jordan Humphrey's most pleasant memories.
Then, the misfortune seemed to carry into the week of practice, where the third-year receiver couldn't come down with the ball on a few contested reception attempts.
But Monday night in the New Orleans Saints' second preseason game, against Jacksonville in the Caesars Superdome, Humphrey came through with arguably his most solid performance throughout training camp: four catches for 74 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Hill that provided New Orleans' final points in a 23-21 victory.
Humphrey's performance somewhat was overshadowed by teammate Marquez Callaway, who had 104 yards on five catches, including two acrobatic touchdown snags. But it was a major rebound for Humphrey, a 6-foot-4 target who is learning to maximize his advantages.
"I feel like my confidence has always been high," said Humphrey, who caught every catchable pass in his radius Monday night. "I've still got a lot of things to work on, so I'm just still trying to progress and get better as the week goes on, until this next preseason game (Saturday against Arizona in the Superdome). To try to show some more of what I can do."
He said he used short-term memory to get past the drops.
"Just shake it off," he said. "It happens to everybody, it's the game of football. You've just got to go do something – be physical or go make a play. I just try to go to the next play, to be honest."
That approach is appreciated by his teammates.
"I love throwing to LJ," Hill said. "I think he's had a really good camp. I think he's had a really good preseason. I don't remember any specific drops (from practice), maybe he did. (But) LJ is a guy that I trust, that I love throwing the ball to.
"He fights for you, he's a big target, so I'm not surprised with the way he played. I love playing with him. I love getting reps with him."
Humphrey is hoping to increase the reps in regular-season games. In eight games over his first two seasons, he had three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown, and he caught a 14-yard pass against Chicago in New Orleans' 2020 Wild Card playoff game.
Production similar to what he had against Jacksonville only can help.
"I don't feel like I proved anything to myself," he said. "I feel like I've always known my abilities. It's just doing it. And I did it. It's just me showing the Saints organization and everybody else that I can play in this league."
What the Saints could be learning is that Humphrey is a viable target in the red zone. In addition to his 14-yard touchdown catch from Hill, he caught an 8-yard scoring pass from Winston against Baltimore.
"It means a lot," he said. "It's not easy to score, preseason or regular season. It means a lot.
"It means I'm getting better, it means the quarterbacks are trusting me to give me targets down there in the red zone."