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Saints roster taking shape

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; By SHELDON MICKLES Advocate sportswriter Published: Aug 20, 2007 CINCINNATI — Now that the New Orleans Saints have reached the halfway point of the exhibition season, actually going one-half past the mark on their five-game schedule, Sean Payton has got ...

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Old 08-20-2007, 04:28 PM   #1
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Cool Saints roster taking shape

By SHELDON MICKLES
Advocate sportswriter
Published: Aug 20, 2007


CINCINNATI — Now that the New Orleans Saints have reached the halfway point of the exhibition season, actually going one-half past the mark on their five-game schedule, Sean Payton has got to start thinking about the first mandatory roster cut.

That will come a week from Tuesday, when Payton has to reduce his 85-man training camp roster to 75 players. Four days later, 22 more players will have to go — which means 32 players who were there Sunday will be gone by the Saints regular-season opener Sept. 6.

Payton and his staff have given everyone plenty of reps during a three-week training camp and three exhibition games, including Saturday’s 27-19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy trimming down to the final 53 as some tough decisions loom.

So who’ll be in and who’ll be out? Here’s one person’s very unofficial guess at how the final roster might be shaping up position by position:

QUARTERBACK (3): Drew Brees, Jamie Martin, Tyler Palko.
Comment: Payton kept only two on the final roster last year, but there’s no way he can put Palko on waivers and get him back on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (5): Deuce McAllister, Mike Karney, Reggie Bush, Aaron Stecker, Antonio Pittman.
Comment: Some think Stecker could be on the bubble, but he’s too valuable as a third-down back and special-teams performer considering Pittman is young and inexperienced.

WIDE RECEIVERS (6): Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Terrance Copper, David Patten, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem.
Comment: Copper and Patten will get lots of work in the three- and four-wide receiver sets and Moore makes it on his return ability. Injuries have slowed Meachem’s progress.

TIGHT ENDS (3): Mark Campbell, Eric Johnson, Billy Miller.
Comment: There’s not much of a debate here, although the starting position is still up for grabs between Campbell and Johnson.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Jammal Brown, Jamar Nesbit, Jeff Faine, Jahri Evans, Jon Stinchcomb, Jonathan Goodwin, Zach Strief, Andy Alleman, Jermon Bushrod.
Comment: If they go a little light here, Strief could be the odd man out. But only because they’d have a better chance getting him on the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE LINE [8]: Charles Grant, Brian Young, Kendrick Clancy, Will Smith, Antwan Lake, Hollis Thomas, Rob Ninkovich, Josh Cooper.
Comment: The big questions here are the injuries to Young and Ninkovich that have kept them sidelined throughout training camp.

LINEBACKERS (7): Scott Fujita, Mark Simoneau, Scott Shanle, Dhani Jones, Brian Simmons, Troy Evans, Marvin Mitchell.
Comment: The Saints have quality depth at all three positions and Mitchell, a seventh-round draft pick, sticks because of his special-teams work.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (9): Mike McKenzie, Jason David, Roman Harper, Josh Bullocks, Kevin Kaesviharn, Jason Craft, Fred Thomas, Jay Bellamy, Usama Young.
Comment: Thomas and his $1.5 million salary could be on the bubble after losing his starting job to David. But the Saints might have a tough time keeping two rookies in Young and fifth-round draft pick David Jones.

SPECIAL TEAMS (3): Olindo Mare, Steve Weatherford, Kevin Houser.
Comment: Weatherford wins a close battle with Chris Hanson for the starting punter’s job.

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Old 08-20-2007, 08:49 PM   #2
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

QB: i would actually rather see the saints dropping martin and keeping fife...if brees goes down they are screwed no matter who is the QB

RB: this may be an unpopular opinion since FBs dont play a huge role in the offense, but i would cut stecker and keep dudley...coach does seem to like passing to FBs out of the backfield and that kid seems to have a big future.

WR: i agree that moore will make the team, but on his WR skills and not his return ability...he has had a really good preseason and i could see him taking the 3 spot from meachum...at least until meachum starts to prove himself as a viable option.
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Old 08-20-2007, 10:34 PM   #3
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

Originally Posted by jergensl View Post
WR: i agree that moore will make the team, but on his WR skills and not his return ability...he has had a really good preseason and i could see him taking the 3 spot from meachum...at least until meachum starts to prove himself as a viable option.
Meachem is a solid 6th here and that's only because he's 1st round pick. In fact, we'll keep 6 WRs instead of 5 because of Meachem's lack of progress and that they can't cut him.

I'm starting to like Moore over Patton and Copper. Copper can make some great catches, but has a fumbling problem. I was thinking that while watching the game Saturday night even before he actually fumbled because an earlier pass he caught he started bobbling as he ran. Moore seems to be catching just as well, is faster, and doesn't seem to have a problem holding onto the ball.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

I like the idea of keeping Dudley but it's tough to cut Stecker. This will be a tough sophmore year for Sean Payton in deciding who to keep and who to try and pass through waivers and place on the practice squad.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:33 PM   #5
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

I thought last year that Lance Moore looked excellent during the preseason and then we never saw him. I never really looked into whether he was injured or just didn't make the team. Does anyone know?

Anyways, I would like to see some more of Dudley in the next two games before I say we should cut Stecker and keep him. Sometimes when you give Stecker the ball it gets you nowhere, sometimes it's the opposite. He did a pretty good job as a backup when Deuce went down a couple years ago. He even had a pretty nice run on Saturday. I do like what I've seen from Dudley, would just like to see some more.
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:25 AM   #6
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

No matter who they keep, it looks like a good team. With a healthy defense, the defense has a lot of depth. And the offense is just great. The first stringers don't even need to play much in the preseason, because they are ready for the season to begin. Not matter who they put in at WR, they do well. Devery did well in the second game, and Copper did well in the third game.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:13 AM   #7
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

Stecker will be the third down back. He's a good receiver out of the backfield, plays special teams, and he's excellent at picking up the blitz. Until Pittman learns the nuances of the offense, mainly blitz pickup and how not to get his QB killed, stecker stays. I like Dudley also, but I would perfer Jammal Branch be switched to FB, he's a much better runner/ receiver than Dudley, plus he's a decent blocker. But I don't think Payton is in to having to FBs on the roster.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:45 AM   #8
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

My God, I should work for the Advocate. I posted this exact roster minus 1 player earlier this week. Someone get me a typewriter.
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Old 08-21-2007, 12:13 PM   #9
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

For what it's worth, I agree, the team should keep Dudley. He looked like a battering-ram when he laid out the Bill's player last week.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:04 PM   #10
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Re: Saints roster taking shape

I'm for keeping Branch, but why hasn't he been in games? Payton was so high on this guy he was on the roster during the playoff run, what happened? He seemed to only be in one play so far this preseason!
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