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TheOak 02-03-2014 02:16 PM

Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
(Mike Triplett)
Current depth chart:

Zach Strief. Age 30, unrestricted free agent.

Terron Armstead. Age 22, signed through 2016. 2014 salary and bonuses: $525,000. 2014 salary-cap number: $679,359.

Charles Brown. Age 26, unrestricted free agent.

Bryce Harris. Age 25, exclusive rights free agent.

Analysis:

Strief
The Saints’ line will take a significant hit if Strief leaves in free agency, and I think there’s a strong chance it could happen. Strief was excellent this past season -- the Saints’ most consistent lineman from start to finish. He could start at right tackle for just about any team in the league. So it’s possible another team might offer more money than the Saints can afford to match.

If that does happen, however, I like Harris’ potential as a possible replacement. He’s gotten some valuable experience over the past two years as a fill-in starter and as the sixth lineman in heavy sets. Practice squad lineman Marcel Jones could also compete for that role if he blooms in his third NFL offseason. Or the Saints could add another young lineman in the draft.

And I do have some confidence in the Saints’ new left tackle, Armstead, who was impressive in his four-game audition at the end of his rookie season. He’ll continue to be a work-in-progress, since he’s a young player from a small school (Arkansas-Pine Bluff). But I think he showed enough in the playoffs to ensure that his name will be written in ink on the depth chart heading into the 2014 offseason. He’s an athletic marvel whose potential is very high if he can deliver on it.

The bigger concern is that the Saints’ entire line has been in flux for the past few years now. Since 2011, they have replaced their line coach, their left tackle twice, their center twice, and their right tackle and left guard once each. Now they might need to replace their right tackle and center again, depending on whether they re-sign Strief and center Brian De La Puente.

I like all five of the starters the Saints had in place at the end of the 2013 season, and they were really starting to gel during the second half of the season -- aside from some hiccups at left tackle. But we saw more inconsistency than ever before at the beginning of the season as it took them a little while to get on the same page.

Read More
Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle - New Orleans Saints Blog - ESPN

Danno 02-03-2014 02:22 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
How can Mike list OC/OG (basically just center) as a greater need than OT?

I'm nit-picking but the potential loss of Strief is infinitely more critical than the potential loss of DLP.

TheOak 02-03-2014 02:31 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 576832)
How can Mike list OC/OG (basically just center) as a greater need than OT?

I'm nit-picking but the potential loss of Strief is infinitely more critical than the potential loss of DLP.

I would say he feels we are fine at tackle and assumes Strief will be resigned and DLP will not. Giving us Strief/Armstead at tackles with brown ad a BU and no center.

papz 02-03-2014 04:06 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
I kind of feel the same way Triplett does. If we can re-sign Strief, and if we feel Brown and be effective at RT, I don't see a pressing need outside. I actually feel we should draft two interior mauling lineman. I wouldn't mind developing a guy like Dakota Dozier and/or Trai Turner in the later rounds to eventually take over for Grubbs and/or Evans.

Both Grubbs and Evans contracts are escalating. Eventually if we're going to keep cost down, we're going to have to restructure or let them loose. We certainly don't have to do it now... but it will give us something to think about in the future.

Crusader 02-03-2014 04:54 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 576832)
How can Mike list OC/OG (basically just center) as a greater need than OT?

I'm nit-picking but the potential loss of Strief is infinitely more critical than the potential loss of DLP.

Because when it comes to Brees protection a lot of it is him stepping up into the pocket. If the inside collapses he can't do that.

halloween 65 02-03-2014 05:12 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
We need a Center. If we go with a power run game I don't think Striefs Knees will hold up, I don't think he gets resigned.

papz 02-03-2014 05:41 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
Free agent OT Charles Brown is not expected back with the Saints.

Brown finally stayed healthy in 2013, but lost his job to rookie Terron Armstead down the stretch. Brown wound up grading 66th among 76 qualifiers in Pro Football Focus' offensive tackle ratings. The 2010 second-round pick likely won't draw interest as a starter, but Brown could resurface as a swing tackle.

Source: ESPN.com

Boutte 02-03-2014 06:02 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
The only way Strief is not starting at RT next year is if somebody gives him an offer we can't match. I don't know what some of you were looking at but Strief was rock solid all year long.

DLP has his flaws but he's far from a bad center. I wouldn't want to see him walk but I don't think we should over pay him either. The question is do we have an adequate replacement.

It sure would be nice to have a stable situation for a couple of years.

Danno 02-03-2014 06:20 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Crusader (Post 576853)
Because when it comes to Brees protection a lot of it is him stepping up into the pocket. If the inside collapses he can't do that.

That's my point. DLP was one of the main reasons drew couldn't step up so replacing his talents is easier than replacing an A-minus RT like Streif.

I think replacing a mediocre center is easier than replacing a solid RT. But you're right about the interior being more important for Brees than OTs

jeanpierre 02-03-2014 06:47 PM

Re: Ranking Saints needs: No. 5 Off. tackle
 
Problem is that they're not that many quality center laying around...

The center also assists in calling the blocking schemes...

And it's critical to finally get the center situation resolved...


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