Here are five players jockeying to be role players on the Saints’ 2014 53-man roster as New Orleans faces Baltimore at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Thursday night in the last of four preseason exhibitions. Both teams are 3-0.
CB Brian Dixon — Dixon’s preseason debut at St. Louis was marred by a pair of defensive penalties, but that’s behind him after Saturday’s interception at Indianapolis. It’s a good sign he’s seen plenty of snaps this preseason (70), but he’ll want things to be more like they were in Indianapolis as final cuts loom and practice-squad spots are doled out.
TE Nic Jacobs — Before signing with the Saints, the undrafted rookie billed himself as a player who could catch passes and block with equal efficiency. He’s caught just one pass for 15 yards and not stood out in run- or pass-protection as the preseason concludes.
DL Glenn Foster — The young pass-rush specialist’s followed up a three-sack rookie campaign in 2013 with a preseason in which he leads the Saints with five quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. He also has a sack as he seeks to prolong his tenure in New Orleans.
WR Charles Hawkins — The New Orleans native has only played in 19 offensive snaps this preseason, hasn’t caught a single pass, and his role as a punt returner in practice has diminished recently. Vying with younger players to be on the practice squad, Hawkins’ time on the Saints may be running out.
K Shayne Graham — The Saints’ incumbent kicker returns to this space because he’s shanked numerous kicks in practice and missed an experimental, 33-yard extra point this preseason. However, he’s 4-for-4 in game field goals so far, and challenger Derek Dimke (2-for-2 and perfect on extra points) has also been shaky in practice, giving Graham a precious chance to retain his job.
Neither New Orleans nor Baltimore will play many -- if any -- of their offensive or defensive regulars, even if they are healthy, as is usually the case for the preseason finale. Below are players who may not suit up due to injuries.
FB Erik Lorig (leg), WR Kenny Stills (quad), S Rafael Bush (undisclosed), S Marcus Ball (undisclosed), LB Khairi Fortt (leg). All missed practice Tuesday, the last one before the game against Baltimore.
CB Ladarius Webb (back), CB Jimmy Smith (chest), CB Asa Jackson (ankle), S Matt Elam (leg), RB Bernard Pierce (mild concussion) and T Jah Reid (concussion). All missed practice Tuesday, according to reports.