The final preseason game for the Tennessee Titans and the New Orleans Saints—the last of five for New Orleans—ended with little pomp and circumstance, as is generally expected. Little scoring, few explosive plays on offense or defense, and a couple of debatable calls rounded out a game one could easily miss as the regular season beckons.
But for fans of both teams all eyes were on Travaris Cadet. Tennessee was up against the preseason’s NFL leader for receiving yards, a rookie from Appalachian State who has racked up yards as a receiver, runner, and returner alike.
For New Orleans, Cadet had been an impressive player all five games, but his future with the Saints teetered in the balance against another Saints favorite, current fourth slot running back, Chris Ivory.
A fifth running back appeared to be out of the question, so many fans and sportswriters spent the last four weeks analyzing and guesstimating which back would make the final cut.
In the first quarter, Cadet stumbled a bit, fumbling the ball early on in Tennessee territory and minimally returning a punt he caught seven yards deep in the end zone.
In the second quarter, Ivory produced one of his beautiful signature hurdles over a Tennessee defender, but was taken down by the shoe just short of a first down.
But in the second half, the tables seemed to have turned. For one, Ivory sat out the rest of the game, giving Cadet more opportunity to shine. And shine he did with a number of nice runs and returns for the duration of the half, though the Saints still came up short on the scoreboard, losing 10-6.
When all was said and done, the Saints announced on Friday that they would indeed keep both running backs on the 53-man roster. Whether one of them will be traded later or not is still up for debate.
But at least for now New Orleans fans are nothing short of delighted that their team sports such a deeply elite group on offense, plus a promising defense rising in the midst, as they eagerly anticipate the start of the regular season.