Between circus catches, New Orleans Saints want consistency from Chris Olave

Katherine Terrell, an experienced ESPN Staff Writer, returned to ESPN in the summer of 2022 to cover the New Orleans Saints after previously covering the Cincinnati Bengals. Katherine, a Louisiana native and graduate of LSU, has been covering the NFL since 2013. You can stay updated on Katherine’s work by following her on Twitter: @Kat_Terrell.

METAIRIE, La. — In his second year with the New Orleans Saints, wide receiver Chris Olave is still honing his skills and learning how to be great. Olave has already gained attention for his ability to make spectacular plays, including toe-tapping receptions, leaping grabs, and one-handed circus catches.

Olave, 23, currently leads the Saints in receptions (32) and receiving yards (414). His teammates have taken notice of his dedication to perfecting his craft. Wide receiver Rashid Shaheed said, “I’ve seen Chris work on that a lot in practice. This offseason he spent a lot of time perfecting those kind of catches. Those kind of catches are never easy, and the fact that he makes them look so simple shows the type of talent he has.”

The Saints (3-3) are gearing up to face the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-2) on “Thursday Night Football” (8:15 p.m. ET, Prime Video). Olave will have the opportunity to showcase his playmaking abilities on the big stage.

The Saints’ offense has been struggling, currently ranking 20th in yards per game (312.5) and 24th in points (18.2). Olave believes that the team has the weapons to be explosive but needs to put it all together.

Teammate Michael Thomas agrees, highlighting Olave’s catch over a defender’s head in their recent loss to the Houston Texans. Thomas believes that the team needs to consistently make those types of plays to succeed.

Despite his success, Olave acknowledges that he has room for improvement. He had a challenging game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4, where he only had one catch. Olave admits that he let his frustration get the best of him during the game but has since learned from the experience.

Teammate Alvin Kamara and Thomas provided guidance and support to Olave. Kamara emphasized the importance of maintaining composure during tough moments, while Thomas reminded Olave of his potential.

Olave strives to control his emotions better during challenging times, recognizing that it’s crucial not to let frustration dictate his actions. He believes that he took a step forward in the team’s win against the New England Patriots in Week 5, where he scored his first touchdown of the season.

Wide receiver coach Kodi Burns understands Olave’s desire for perfection but reminds him that opportunities in the NFL are limited. Burns encourages Olave to make the most of every chance he gets.

The Saints Coaching staff challenged Olave in the offseason to improve his contested catch skills, and he has delivered. He has made several impressive grabs this season, including a one-handed catch against the Carolina Panthers and a leaping catch against the Texans.

Olave credits his preparation and practice, including work with tennis balls, for his improvement. He aims to consistently make those plays and emphasized the importance of attacking contested catches in critical situations.

In the NFL, no player is ever a finished product, and this certainly applies to Olave. He continues to work on refining his skills and contributing to the Saints’ offense.

Overall, Olave’s growth and development are a testament to his commitment and determination to succeed in the NFL. Fans can expect to see more exciting plays from him as he continues to make his mark in the league.

Katherine Terrell, ESPN Staff Writer (Oct 19, 2023)


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