Saints Jaguars Football

New Orleans Saints running back Boston Scott (30) runs past Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Leon Jacobs and defensive back C.J. Reavis (38) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Two of the primary candidates for the Saints' opening at return man offered a glimpse of their talents in Thursday night's preseason win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

With incumbent return man Tommylee Lewis sidelined due to injury, veteran Brandon Tate and rookie Boston Scott both got chances to strut their stuff as the return men. 

Both had one big return. Tate brought his first chance back 36 yards, and Scott returned his first opportunity out past the 40-yard line, only to have it called back to a 35-yard return due to a holding penalty. 

"There's a lot of athletes out there," veteran Ted Ginn Jr. said. "Brandon Tate's been doing it for a while. 30's coming in, he's young, but he's got a good base, good form. It's a good job to compete for."

Tate, who has built his nine-year NFL career on his return ability, has flashed a little bit at wide receiver during practice, but the Saints are so loaded at that position that Tate's path to the 53-man roster is clear. 

"He's going to have to make it first as a returner," Saints coach Sean Payton said. 

Scott, a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, is also competing for a role at running back in the wake of Mark Ingram's suspension, but after getting just one carry in the preseason opener, the kickoff return became his chance to shine. 

"You want to flash, you want to catch the eyes of the staff, you want to catch the eyes of the coaches and confirm some of the stuff that they brought you here for," Scott said.

Despite the big returns, though, the Saints still believe they have a long way to go to find a return man. 

Scott's going to have to keep putting big returns on the board. 

"Overall, it was OK," Payton said. "We're going to give him a lot of work at it, and he's going to have to make improvements."

Follow Joel A. Erickson on Twitter, @JoelAErickson.