GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — Chris Olave continues to show he can make a big impact in his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints.
Ohio State’s first-round draft pick caught a 20-yard pass for his first touchdown of the preseason in the Saints’ 20-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Friday night. Olave also stood out in the Saints’ joint practice sessions with the Packers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Anytime there’s competition ahead, I feel like I’ll always do my best,” said Olave. “They have a good group in Green Bay, they have a good group in the high school, and I feel like I’m taking the next step in becoming a great NFL receiver.”
Olave wasn’t the only rookie receiver to deliver a big game.
Green Bay’s Romeo Doubs, a fourth-round pick from Nevada, caught a touchdown pass by Jordan Love for the second week in a row. The Packers’ other touchdown came in the fourth quarter against Danny Etling’s 51-yard quarterback keeper.
“I think we’ve had a really good connection since he came here for OTAs,” Love said. “He was a guy who just did plays out there.”
Olave, who set an Ohio State record with 35 touchdown catches, went to the Saints with the 11th pick of the draft. He scored his touchdown 12 seconds before halftime.
The Saints’ other points came on Wil Lutz’s 59-yard field goal. New Orleans’ John Parker Romo missed a 35-yard attempt with 1:32 left.
Saints quarterback Ian Book played the entire game, walking 16 of 28 for 113 yards while also rushing for 49 yards on seven carries. Notre Dame’s 2021 fourth-round pick fumbled a snap and threw an interception on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter.
New Orleans rested Andy Dalton, who threw a touchdown pass in his lone drive in the Saints’ preseason opener. Saints starting quarterback Jameis Winston is struggling with a foot injury.
“Andy got a lot of reps in practice this week,” said Saints coach Dennis Allen. “So there was a lot of people who were getting a lot of reps in the drills we were trying to do in today’s game. And so we got a good look at Ian. He played the whole game. There were some positives and then obviously the negative really becomes the two turnovers.”
With MVP Aaron Rodgers seated in each of Green Bay’s first two games, the Packers have had an in-depth look at Love. Packers coach Matt LaFleur said after Friday’s game that no decision had been made on whether Rodgers would play in Kansas City in the preseason finals.
Love was 12 of 24 for 113 yards, including the 4-yard touchdown pass to Doubs. LaFleur believed Love was better than the numbers given, saying about five passes were dropped.
“I’m more comfortable being determined to make it bang and not waiting and procrastinating for a play to open,” Love said. “It comes down to being comfortable with offense and understanding where the receiver is going to be.”
The most notable statistic for Love was its lack of turnover. He went 13 of 24 for 176 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in a 28-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week, though an interception was taken from Tyler Davis’ tight end hands and another doubs.
“I think he’s light years ahead of what he was a year ago,” LaFleur said. “I think if you asked our guys in the dressing room, every one of them would tell you they have a lot of faith in him. I think we would all agree in this dressing room that he’s one of the most improved guys over the last year.”
New Orleans first-round pick Trevor Penning from Northern Iowa started left-stacked. Saints TE Lucas Krull, an undrafted Pittsburgh free agent, had a 7-yard touchdown catch that was canceled out by his own offensive pass interference penalty.
Green Bay’s Tyler Goodson, an undrafted free agent from Iowa, had 10 carries for 42 yards and a 10-yard catch.
Packers WR Christian Watson participated in pregame warm-ups but was ruled out of the game. The North Dakota State second-round pick underwent knee surgery following organized team activity and was activated from the physically incapable list on Sunday.
Packers S Vernon Scott injured his shoulder in the second quarter.
Saints: Hosts the Los Angeles Chargers on Friday.
Packers: Thursday in Kansas City.