2021 NFL preseason, Week 2: What we learned from Saints' win over Jaguars on Monday night

NFL.com breaks down what you need to know from Week 2 of the 2021 NFL preseason. Catch up on each game's biggest takeaways below:

New Orleans Saints 23, Jacksonville Jaguars 21

  1. Callaway shines early. With the Saints needing a stepped-up presence from their wide receiving corps as they await the expected October return of injured star Michael Thomas, Marquez Callaway is giving it to them. A year ago, he was an anonymous undrafted rookie. Now, he's looking like a key target for this offense. He rang up five catches for 104 yards in the first quarter, including a pair of deep TD catches from 43 and 29 yards. On the first, he even overcame pass interference to make a tough catch. After an impressive preseason opener, coach Sean Payton had apparently seen all he needed to see of Callaway after just a quarter of action. A long season awaits, and it remains to be seen what Callaway's role will be when Thomas returns, but there's little doubt he'll be counted on heavily in September.
  2. Hang onto Minshew. Speculation that the Jaguars might be willing to trade quarterback Gardner Minshew if he, as expected, loses the starting QB job to Trevor Lawrence, should stop. Not because Minshew should win the job -- he shouldn't -- but because the Jaguars offense needs as much mobility in the QB room as it can get. Jacksonville's pass protection left a lot to be desired Monday, and although the Jags played with less than a full deck up front, the regular season might not signal much improvement. Extending plays and operating around traffic in the pocket is what Minshew does best. Urban Meyer's offense puts the QB on the move by design at times, too, so a stationary QB behind leaky pass protection is the last thing he needs. That logic doesn't just extend to Lawrence, who is plenty mobile himself. It only makes sense for QB2 to have wheels of his own.
  3. Winston on point. Nobody ever said Jameis Winston couldn't push the ball downfield. Even in his infamous 30-interception season in 2019, which signaled his exit in Tampa Bay, he tied for fourth in the NFL in yards per attempt (8.2). The Winston deep ball was on full display early Monday night as the Saints raced to a 14-0 lead on 43- and 29-yard TD throws from the former FSU signal-caller. Both were perfectly placed out of the reach of tight coverage, the second coming with a blitz in his face. On the whole, Winston looked sharp and in comfortable command of the Saints offense. Beating out Taysom Hill for the starting job, and more importantly, keeping it for 17 games, will require him to keep turnovers at a minimum. But if he can make explosive plays like he did Monday, his margin for error might not be so thin.

NFL Research: New Orleans wide receiver Marquez Callaway is one of three players since 2017 with 160-plus receiving yards and two or more receiving touchdowns on eight or fewer catches in a single preseason. Others: Green Bay's Jake Kumerow (2018) and Miami's Jakeem Grant (2017).

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