Saints head coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that Meredith was made inactive for the team's season-opening loss to the Buccaneers because the receiver still needed to get the timing of the offense down, Joel A. Erickson of The New Orleans Advocate reports. "More than anything else, [making Meredith inactive] had to do with just the reps he was behind coming off of training camp," Payton said. "From a health standpoint, he's doing good. It's just getting him up to speed."
One of the Saints' highest-profile signings of the offseason, Meredith's practice reps were significantly limited this summer while he worked his way back from a torn ACL and MCL that cost him the entire 2017 season. Meredith consequently didn't log much time with the Saints' first-string offense during the preseason, which evidently made Payton uncomfortable putting the receiver out there last Sunday. While Payton stopped short of saying if Meredith would be given the green light to play Sunday versus the Browns, it's at least reassuring that the 25-year-old isn't dealing with any knee-related setbacks. In Meredith's absence in Week 1, Austin Carr opened with the first-team offense as the team's No. 3 wideout and finished with two receptions for 20 yards.
Meredith (coach's decision) is inactive for Sunday's season-opening contest against the Buccaneers.
The news earlier Sunday that Austin Carr would be the starting slot receiver versus the Bucs hinted at this possibility, as did the fact that Meredith was seen jogging with practice squad players in pregame warmups, according to Josh Katzenstien of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Meredith seemed to be at close to full health by the final game of preseason, when he logged a pair of receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. His absence Sunday should also mean extra snaps for impressive rookie Tre'Quan Smith.
Meredith caught two of four targets for 72 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's preseason finale against the Rams.
Held without a catch on 48 snaps over the past two weeks, Meredith broke out of his funk with a 56-yard gain on a blown coverage in the first quarter, later adding a 16-yard touchdown while working from the slot. Rookie third-round pick Tre'Quan Smith also had an impressive night with four catches for 42 yards on four targets, boosting his cumulative preseason receiving line to 15-189-1. With Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn locked in as starters, Meredith is battling Smith and Austin Carr for the No. 3 receiver job. The preseason results point to Smith, but it's Meredith who has the NFL track record and the sizable contract.
Meredith (knee) returned to practice Wednesday, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports.
Meredith didn't participate in team drills, but his return to the field Wednesday in any capacity is a good sign as the wideout continues to work his way back from the season-ending knee injury he suffered last August. Assuming no setbacks in advance of Week 1, Meredith should see work in the team's three-wide formations out of the gate, but it isn't quite clear how snaps will be divided between Meredith and Ted Ginn when the Saints only have two wide receivers on the field. If things end up tilting in Meredith's direction, however, he possesses sleeper potential in a Drew Brees-helmed passing attack.
Meredith (knee) was absent from Monday's practice, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Meredith was cleared for full-team contact drills at the start of training camp, but the former Bear did not play in Thursday's preseason opener against the Jaguars, nor did he participate in the Saints' last three practices. Head coach Sean Payton warned that Meredith would have his workload limited during camp and there has been no news of a setback in his recovery from a torn MCL and ACL suffered last preseason, but his continued absence is disconcerting for fantasy owners who tabbed him as a sleeper. Nevertheless, there's nearly three weeks of training camp remaining, so it's far too early to panic.
|4||9/30/18||@ NYG||4:25 pm|
|Bye: Week 6|
|7||10/21/18||@ BAL||4:05 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ MIN||8:20 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|13||11/29/18||@ DAL||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|15||12/17/18||@ CAR||8:15 pm|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||1||1||11||11.0||11||1||0||0||1|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||1||0||0||---||0||0||0||0|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||1||0||0||---||0||---||0||0||0||0/0||0||0||---|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2018||New Orleans Saints||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|