London ball

Saints limp in London with numerous wide receiver issues

CHARLOTTE, NC — The New Orleans Saints boarded a plane for London on Sunday night with a lot of excess baggage, including a two-game losing streak and several wide receiver questions.

Veteran starting wide Michael Thomas is gone New Orleans lost 22-14 to Carolina with a toe injury. Jarvis Landry was out with an ankle injury and Tre’Quan Smith’s day ended with a concussion.

As if the Saints (1-2) really need more problems on offense after failing to score in the first three quarters against the Panthers on Sunday, a week after being limited to three points in the first three quarters against the Buccaneers from Tampa Bay.

“We were really down to two receivers there at the end,” coach Dennis Allen said. “We will have to assess where everyone is and how bad the injuries are and where we go from there.”

Allen said he remains confident in quarterback Jameis Winston, even as the veteran battles a back injury.

After a slow start, Winston completed 25 of 41 passes for 353 yards with a touchdown pass to Marquez Callaway and two interceptions, although one of those came on a Hail Mary pass from his own 1-yard line. during the final game.

“I think in this situation everyone is looking for a place to blame,” Allen said. “There are enough mistakes for everyone that I don’t want to go there. I feel confident with Jameis. Of course, we all need to do better. And that’s what we’re going to do.

Winston didn’t get much help early on from running back Alvin Kamara, who put the Saints down 7-0 when he was stripped of the ball by Frankie Luvu, allowing Marquis Haynes to fire him from 44 yards for a touchdown.

With both teams in an offensive rut in the first half, it was a huge play and was the only touchdown for the first three quarters as the Panthers took a 13-0 lead.

Winston said it’s time for the Saints to “dig deep and persevere” starting this Sunday when they face the Minnesota Vikings, who fought back to beat the Detroit Lions 28-24.

The quarterback stressed that the Saints need to start faster and finish practices.

However, it’s unclear whether they’ll be able to pull it off with potentially limited weaponry on offense.

“We have a resilient group of guys,” Winston said. “Hopefully we can get these guys back and win in London.”

If there’s any good news for the Saints, it’s that rookie receiver Chris Olave looks like an emerging star.

Ohio State’s 11th draft pick had another solid game with nine catches for 147 yards against one of the best defensive backs in the league.

Olave has 268 yards on 17 receptions in his first three NFL games — despite playing as a backup. He could be pressured into a starting role this week if Thomas and/or Landry are unable to play.

Allen said he wouldn’t use the word “surprised” by the Saints’ struggles offensively, suggesting there are growing pains.

“We have a lot of new parts and we really haven’t had the chance to work in training camp as much as we would have liked,” Allen said. “But we have a job to do. We have to go out there and play better and we have to go out there and perform better. We need to coach them better. It starts with me.

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