this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Where to now for Jahri Evans, given that the New Orleans Saints All-Pro essentially is undisputed as the best guard in the NFL, and already owns the most lucrative contract (a reported $56.7 million over seven years, including $19 million ...
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|08-03-2010, 10:52 AM||#1|
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Where to now for Jahri Evans, given that the New Orleans Saints All-Pro essentially is undisputed as the best guard in the NFL, and already owns the most lucrative contract (a reported $56.7 million over seven years, including $19 million this year) ever given to a guy playing his position?
Up, of course.
Why should this season be any different for Evans, whose career only has rocketed since he was an unknown, fourth-round draft pick in 2006 who muscled his way into the starting lineup and has managed to stay there for all 64 regular-season games the Saints have played since?
"I feel like when I came in, I started off running, not knowing where I was going and with no direction, thrown in there as a rookie, " Evans said. "But now I have a sense of direction. I know what the goal is.
"Each year this game changes, your opponent changes, the defenses that you see changes, so you have to change your game with it. You have to keep learning and adding things to your repertoire to get better."
No one playing against the Saints is going to take any comfort in hearing that.
Evans really hasn't even yet hit his stride. He's 26, and while he has been successful beyond any rational projection -- nobody saw any of this coming from Bloomsburg ( Pa.) University's finest -- there's no suggestion that he's a finished product, that he completely is a technical wizard, that he can kick butt and take names on every down.
Well, actually, he pretty much does have that last part mastered.
But Evans' ceiling, high as it might be, might not be in view just yet.
"Jahri has spent the offseason working to improve his footwork, " offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said. "He's a strong individual -- he has played very physical through his couple of years starting. So now he's really concentrating on his feet and working to improve the aspect of covering ground and just trying to perfect that part of his game.
"Everybody always has plenty of room to improve. Even though people want to rank him this, rank him that, you're only as good as your last play. But he's a guy who's detailed and works hard and is constantly trying to get better."
Nobody knows that better than the teammates he works with, and against.
"He's just excellent at the small things about playing offensive line, " defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis said. "His footwork and handwork are always working together, and it makes it really difficult to win if you're not doing your technique exactly right. And besides that, he's just a big man, and I think that helps him out also.
"I feel like if I can come out here and have good practices and things like that against him, there's not very many people out there that are on his level. If I can come out and beat him on a daily basis I think I'll fare pretty well in any game situation.
"I might be a little biased, but I think he is (the best guard in the league). The guys that I've gone against, you have a lot of guys who might have great feet and great hands, but they might be a little undersized. But he has the total package."
What's left now is to wrap the package a little better.
The richly deserved reputation as a mauler in the run game is being paired with more effective and efficient pass blocking and if all that can be combined with even more consistency, then Evans' place as the league's best guard will be safe for a while.
True, the hardest charge for the honor actually might be coming from teammate Carl Nicks, which is a great competition to have. But Evans knows enough to not remain stagnant, knows that he has to stay ahead of the competition or be surpassed by it.
"Every snap you've got a battle inside, one-on-one with another man, " he said. "You do your job and then you help out your teammates and everybody else does their job around you, then ultimately the team will be successful.
"I'm just learning more. Learning how to do things more efficiently, learning how to read things and work well with my body.
"I'm doing just a couple of footwork things, getting my hands on guys quicker -- since I play powerful and strong, just closing the space between me and the defensive guy."
So far, we've seen that when Evans gets hold, he doesn't let go until he gets where he wants to go.
And right now, he still wants to go up as a player. Don't think that doesn't make his team smile.
Last edited by QBREES9; 08-03-2010 at 11:01 AM..
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|08-03-2010, 03:18 PM||#2|
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Re: New Orleans Saints guard Jahri Evans only getting better
Do we know how to evaluate and bring in talent, or what?