Emmanuel Sanders' assimilation into the New Orleans Saints offense hasn't been a smooth proposition.
The veteran receiver has four receptions for 33 yards with a TD through two games. In Monday night's loss to Las Vegas, with Michael Thomas out, Sanders had just one catch on three targets for 18 yards. Those figures won't get it done as Thomas continues to battle an ankle injury.
The Saints believe with time Sanders will contribute more consistently.
"I honestly don't feel like there have been a ton of opportunities," quarterback Drew Brees said, via the Times-Picayune. "We've called some downfield shots. For example, we called two in that game that were designed to go to him down the field, unfortunately, the coverage didn't really dictate that, didn't really allow that.
"There was a couple other opportunities that for whatever reason, just we didn't have the time to get it to him or there was a breakdown elsewhere that did not allow it."
Last week, Sanders noted the complexity of the Saints offense, and how he's continuing to learn after not having offseason work or preseason to prepare.
"We are (just) two weeks in," coach Sean Payton said. "So, I see him being a big part of what we do offensively. We didn't have enough snaps the other night, unfortunately. That time of possession was a big factor in it."
"His touches are going to come," Payton added.
With Thomas' injury threatening to linger, the Saints need Sanders to step up and be a reliable target for Brees. It might take some time, unfortunately. Last year we saw tight end Jared Cook struggle early in the season in his first year in New Orleans before taking off down the stretch. It could be a similar process for Sanders.
"I'm very confident in him and his ability and his role in this offense," Brees said. "And those opportunities will come."
The Saints need them to come in a hurry with the 2-0 Packers visiting Sunday night.