Roster analysis: Saints have difficult decisions at several key positions by Nick Underhill (1 Viewer)

jeromed1936

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HOUSTON -- A lot of spots on the roster are already locked up. We know Drew Brees, Mark Ingram and Delvin Breaux are going to be on the team. But big questions remain at other spots. Which running backs make the team? Can the Saints figure out a way to keep both of the young corners who are making pushes for roster spots? What about kicker? Long snapper? How many receivers make the team? There are several decisions remaining for the coaching staff, and many of those mysteries will be solved during the final three preseason games. Until those issues are sorted out, here’s a look at how things appear from this view heading into Saturday’s preseason game against the Houston Texans:


Roster Analysis
 

Geaxsaints

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Definitely agree with his point that the RB battle seems to be Lasco vs Hightower and Murphy vs Cadet, rather than Hightower as a lock and Lasco vs Murphy vs Cadet. I feel that Lasco has the potential and the physical build to be a premier back in the league, just needs to learn to hold on to the ball!
 

BlackNGoldblood

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I don't like how he has Coleman over Tommylee. Hopefully Tommylee can show up in these last preseason games as well and win a spot. Think he could make it to practice squad if he doesn't make 53?
 

SAINTSFAN

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I don't like how he has Coleman over Tommylee. Hopefully Tommylee can show up in these last preseason games as well and win a spot. Think he could make it to practice squad if he doesn't make 53?
I think he could make it to the practice squad. There is not usually a ton of demand for 5'7" 168 pound WRs unless they really do well in the return game.
 

CitySaint

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If Spiller didn't have money tied up with him I'd put he and Hightower on the cut list unless proven otherwise and have Lascoe as Ingram's primary along with Cadet and Murphy as the 3rd down passing guys.

Strief has 1 season where he played a full 16 games in addition to him getting older(more injuries), Armstead has never played a full 16. It's worrisome to think of a starting tackle getting injured or playing injured for a critical game. Lelito and Kelemete are both reserve level lineman that should be fighting for a roster spot. Our line situation is such a patchwork mess I don't know what the hell Payton should do. We need good depth at tackle and better starters on the interior. We need to acquire 2 starting guards and Peat should be preparing to play tackle because at some point this season he WILL play tackle.

Harper is a waste of a roster spot. Vaccaro plays 100% of the snaps at strong safety every season. Harper is as much of a liability in coverage as the typical linebacker. And it makes no sense to give up 25 to 30 pounds in run support by putting Harper in on obvious run downs over a linebacker. Cut Harper and keep one of the promising DB's.

We have a better chance of Garrett Grayson leading us to a Superbowl than Keenan Lewis being 100% healthy for the season and playing at 2013 levels. It's over. It's a pipe dream to think he is going to be at 2013 levels all the while you have to cut young guys like Crawley, Dixon, Harris, or Pruitt.
 

Geaxsaints

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We're keeping Lasco and Tommylee.
Honestly, I hope this is the case. We all know that Murphy has big play ability in the return game, but his muffs and fumbles are not worth 1 or 2 return touchdowns a year. Lewis seems more sure handed and could contribute more to the offense.
 

bobad

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I see Tomylee as Murphy's biggest threat. If we see Tommylee getting a lot of return work Saturday night, it tells me Murphy may be in jeopardy.
 

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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Definitely agree with his point that the RB battle seems to be Lasco vs Hightower and Murphy vs Cadet, rather than Hightower as a lock and Lasco vs Murphy vs Cadet. I feel that Lasco has the potential and the physical build to be a premier back in the league, just needs to learn to hold on to the ball!
As it should be. 5 RBs is just too many and Cadet/Hightower will both likely be available to sign should they be cut. Hightower sat at home last year and Cadet was picked up by the Pats and then subsequently cut. So..they were available for a reason.

So why wouldn't you want your 7th round RB's from back to back years to prove they can be backups & ST's contributors?

Those 4 and a FB would be ideal because the other two should still be available should you need them during the season.

Yet...i can see a scenario of keeping 5 but it just doesn't make sense everytime i come back to the point that Hightower/Cadet aren't exactly going to be seeing their phones ring for employment. Both are a year older and a year past what would be their primes and are only serviceable backups at this point in either careers with little or no available potential that hasn't been tapped into.

The league is still a developmental league and Lasco/Murphy offer more upside.

If we did keep 5 I could see Lewis not making the cut and us only keeping 4 WR's to start the season. Which has happend before. We've gotten down to 53 and then kept certain players because we planned on being run heavy for the 1st game and then cut said player(s) and brought back a WR/skill position later.

FFT
 

saint_drago

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It's great to see that the staff has some hard decisions to make. This is especially true for the CBs. The past few years we haven't had much to work with at that spot. I mean, they've had trouble simply fielding two capable starters the past few years. Our "depth" consisted of the Dixon twins and other various off brand players.

The front seven also looks a lot better. If you look at the depth chart you're not going to be blown away by big names but we seem to have more capable, athletic defenders than we've had in years.

Drew Brees could be looking at the best collection of pass catchers he's had in NOLA. The backfield has a really nice mix of reliable chain movers and versatile scat backs. A ton of potential there and a NFL caliber player will probably be cut.

The cause for pause as I see it is the O Line. We've been spoiled with good O Line play during SP's tenure. You have to go back quite a few years to find a unit that was flat out bad. I look at the O Line depth chart and just wonder if we have the horses.
 

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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If Spiller didn't have money tied up with him I'd put he and Hightower on the cut list unless proven otherwise and have Lascoe as Ingram's primary along with Cadet and Murphy as the 3rd down passing guys.

Strief has 1 season where he played a full 16 games in addition to him getting older(more injuries), Armstead has never played a full 16. It's worrisome to think of a starting tackle getting injured or playing injured for a critical game. Lelito and Kelemete are both reserve level lineman that should be fighting for a roster spot. Our line situation is such a patchwork mess I don't know what the hell Payton should do. We need good depth at tackle and better starters on the interior. We need to acquire 2 starting guards and Peat should be preparing to play tackle because at some point this season he WILL play tackle.

Harper is a waste of a roster spot. Vaccaro plays 100% of the snaps at strong safety every season. Harper is as much of a liability in coverage as the typical linebacker. And it makes no sense to give up 25 to 30 pounds in run support by putting Harper in on obvious run downs over a linebacker. Cut Harper and keep one of the promising DB's.

We have a better chance of Garrett Grayson leading us to a Superbowl than Keenan Lewis being 100% healthy for the season and playing at 2013 levels. It's over. It's a pipe dream to think he is going to be at 2013 levels all the while you have to cut young guys like Crawley, Dixon, Harris, or Pruitt.
It's been interesting noting your disdain for Roman Harper but going through the memory banks you were one of the people who pointed out just how much leadership we lost the year Harper/Jenkins were gone. Now we get it back and he's a waste?

Despite actually still showing he can perform with stops in practice in coverage and the run game AND in the Pre-Season games?

Safeties

Kenny Vaccaro got the starting nod at SS in New England, and played 14 first half snaps before heading to the sideline. Vaccaro flashed some good man coverage on Martellus Bennett on the Patriots second drive, and also made a key open field tackle on a Brandon Bolden draw play to stop a big gain. He faces competition from veteran Roman Harper at the SS spot this year. Harper put in a strong shift himself in Foxboro, making several nice plays against the run, and showing veteran savvy to diagnose and react to playaction and draw plays. Harper’s presence on and off the field should really assist the Saints – and Vaccaro – this season
.

https://crawfishboila.wordpress.com/2016/08/19/stock-watch-saints-defense-preseason-week-one/


Not that their analysis is the end all be all but most people can find the silver lining in the harper signing and you just continue to trash it? Why?


It's great to see that the staff has some hard decisions to make. This is especially true for the CBs. The past few years we haven't had much to work with at that spot. I mean, they've had trouble simply fielding two capable starters the past few years. Our "depth" consisted of the Dixon twins and other various off brand players.

The front seven also looks a lot better. If you look at the depth chart you're not going to be blown away by big names but we seem to have more capable, athletic defenders than we've had in years.

Drew Brees could be looking at the best collection of pass catchers he's had in NOLA. The backfield has a really nice mix of reliable chain movers and versatile scat backs. A ton of potential there and a NFL caliber player will probably be cut.

The cause for pause as I see it is the O Line. We've been spoiled with good O Line play during SP's tenure. You have to go back quite a few years to find a unit that was flat out bad. I look at the O Line depth chart and just wonder if we have the horses.
Ya know one of the beat writers (might have been Underhill) said "the saints roster now has a middle class" which is a complete 180 from last year. It was impact players then a bunch of who's who's behind them. Now we've got decent depth everywhere except Oline and even Jack Allen is showing his stuff.

Just imagine in a year if we don't have to resign Unger, and we cut Byrd. We'll have money to sign some good players at G and maybe CB or DE after signing Brees.
 

Nightshade

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Justin Drescher would have been listed as a lock if Payton hadn’t talked about how much value it would be to have a player who could play two positions serve as the snapper.
Could Jack Allen be used as the longsnapper? Or possibly Garrett Griifin?
 

St.Fury

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It is so nice to finally have a competent local reporter for our team.
Some reporters have a knack for taking positives and finding a negative spin on it. Then there's Underhill who just gives you the lowdown and let it be what it it. He's fine with letting things appear to be promising at worst.
 

Crush

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This is an interesting article. I'm especially interested to see how the RB position shakes out. Here is my prediction
Mark Ingram: Best all around RB we have and clear #1
Tim Hightower: Veteran backup to Ingram and power RB
CJ Spiller: Too much invested and upside still there. Gets another shot to prove he wasn't a mistake.
Marcus Murphy: Return guy and emergency RB

Trav Cadet gets let go, but is put on speed dial in case anyone goes down.

Dan Lasco lands on the practice squad. I know he's very hyped around here, but he will pass through free agency and make it back to our practice squad.
 

BooBirdSaint

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I like the kid however every roster spot is critical and you've got to be a solid contributor on ST. IMO Tommy Lee Lewis will either earn a spot as a special teams ace returner/gunner or he will go to the practice squad. He's a 5'6" 170lb WR... Not a huge market for those guys in the receiving game unless your name is Wes Welker. And even he started out getting cut and spending 2 years as a ST returner before he proved himself and got into the lineup as a WR.
 

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