September 16, 2012
METAIRIE — Injuries. Injuries. Injuries.
They’re painful to NFL players, but they can be just as tough on coaches and front office personnel who have to chop a 90-man training camp roster to 53 players in the next nine days.
Because the Saints have an injury list that recently reached double digits, it’s difficult to predict what will happen before the Sept. 9 regular-season opener.
So, here’s a wild guess at what it could look like with one real preseason test left.
QUARTERBACK (2): Drew Brees, Chase Daniel.
This one is easy because it would be a major shock if the Saints kept more than two. If nothing else, it saves a spot for an injured player who has a chance to make it back early in the season.
RUNNING BACK (5): Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Jed Collins.
It’s a tough call here as the Saints love rookie Travaris Cadet, but it would be difficult to keep five halfbacks, even though they go through a lot of them. They kept an extra fullback last year in Korey Hall, but that was highly unusual.
WIDE RECEIVER (6): Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Greg Camarillo, Courtney Roby, Nick Toon.
This would be more clear if Toon and Adrian Arrington hadn’t missed so much practice time with injuries. A lot depends on how quickly Camarillo blends in, but they’ll likely have to keep Toon, a fourth-round draft pick.
TIGHT END (3): Jimmy Graham, David Thomas, Michael Higgins.
The question is whether Higgins, who was called up from the practice squad last season, measures up to Daniel Graham, an 11-year veteran, as a blocker.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8): Jermon Bushrod, Ben Grubbs, Brian de la Puente, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, Charles Brown, Matt Tennant, Eric Olsen.
The Saints have traditionally kept eight linemen on the active roster and will likely go that route again.
DEFENSIVE LINE (9): Cameron Jordan, Brodrick Bunkley, Sedrick Ellis, Turk McBride, Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, Akiem Hicks, Tom Johnson, Remi Ayodele.
Here’s an area that has question marks because of a four-game suspension that Will Smith will serve at the start of the regular season.
LINEBACKER (7): Scott Shanle, Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Barrett Ruud, Jonathan Casillas, Will Herring, Ezra Butler.
Again, this area is up in the air because of injuries to Lofton and Hawthorne and Humber’s three-game suspension. Butler wins a spot unless the Saints pick up a player cut by another team.
DEFENSIVE BACK (10): Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Johnny Patrick, Marquis Johnson, Corey White, Elbert Mack, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Jonathon Amaya.
Do they keep nine, or 10? The guess is 10 because you never have enough corners.
SPECIALISTS (3): Garrett Hartley, Thomas Morstead, Justin Drescher.
Hartley regains his job over John Kasay, who kicked well last season in Hartley’s absence.