First-round pick Marcus Davenport got his first taste of regular-season action on Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Davenport, who battled a pulled groin for most of training camp but returned in time for the final preseason game, rotated with Alex Okafor at right defensive end and played 23 snaps in his NFL debut.
The rookie came away with one tackle, a quarterback hit and a pass defended, and after he watched the film, Davenport saw a lot that could improve.
"I want to play better," Davenport said. "I just feel like I have to play more violent and be able to stop the run better."
One of Davenport's better rushes ended in a flag. Bearing down on Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Davenport's helmet made contact with Fitzpatrick's helmet, and he was hit with a 15-yard penalty for roughing the quarterback.
"It happened," Davenport said. "There's not much I can say about it, I'll just try to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Davenport also came close to making the big play the Saints defense desperately needed and never got. After reading a screen correctly, he got both hands on a Fitzpatrick pass from a couple of yards away, but he wasn't able to haul it in.
"I should have had that," Davenport said. "I'll get it next time."