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Breaking down the New Orleans Saints' roster heading into important preseason game vs. Colts

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The entire offseason and training camp is geared with an eye toward preparation for the regular season. But emphasis on roster development is the primary focus in the first two weeks of camp; how players can help a team in ...

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Old 08-22-2014, 08:37 AM   #1
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The entire offseason and training camp is geared with an eye toward preparation for the regular season. But emphasis on roster development is the primary focus in the first two weeks of camp; how players can help a team in certain situations and what the those players' limitations.

As a team heads into its third preseason game, the coaches and front-office personnel have a much better handle on where their roster stands. So the focus becomes preparing for regular-season play. Starters usually play a half, sometimes deep into the third quarter, depending on their physical status.

The third preseason game is also when a team tests game plans for the staff and players. While it will not be a typical regular-season game plan, many of the same procedures are utilized to sharpen the skills of players and coaches in game-plan formulation and adjustments. This is why the third preseason game has more of a regular-season feel to it than other preseason exhibitions.

READ: Landry's take on expansion of practice squad

Specifically for the Saints, this is why Drew Brees and Jarius Byrd will see their first action. Getting their bodies ready for the regular season is crucial, but doing it in advance of this game was not the best call because of their injuries (Brees' oblique and Byrd's back).

There are still a number of roster spots up for grabs on the Saints' roster, and allocating the appropriate number of reps for each contending player is essential this week and next week vs. Baltimore before final cuts are made Aug. 30.

Let's take a look at how the Saints' roster stacks up at this point and where some decisions still have to be made:

QUARTERBACKS

The decision is whether to keep two or three. In all likelihood, if they go with Ryan Griffin and cut Luke McCown, they may opt to save a roster spot for another position.

RUNNING BACKS

The top four running backs are set (Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson, Travaris Cadet) with the only issue at fullback, where they could keep Austin Johnson until Erik Lorig comes back from injury.

WIDE RECEIVERS

This position has cleared itself up in the last week or so. They'll likely keep six (Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks, Robert Meacham, Nick Toon and Joe Morgan). If Seantavius Jones or Brandon Coleman can clear waivers after being cut, they would be practice-squad candidates. God blend of youth and experience.

TIGHT ENDS

Jimmy Graham, Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill are in, with Nic Jacobs a likely candidate to clear waivers and be a practice-squad candidate.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The young guys have gotten lots of work at guard because of injuries to Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans. Ideally, the Saints would like to keep eight if the quality is there. Right now, Bryce Harris, Marcel Jones and Senio Kelemete would be fighting for two spots with the possibility of another player entering the mix after the first round of cuts.

DEFENSIVE LINE

For a base 30 (three-man) front team such as the Saints, they'll want to go with six players here. This is where they'll look at numbers and weigh quality into the mix as guys such as Brandon Deaderick and even Rufus Johnson are roster-quality, but would have to be at the expense of another position.

Remember, to be signed to the practice squad a player must first clear waivers, but Deaderick and Johnson likely would be picked up on another team's active roster.

LINEBACKERS

This is where the staff would like to fudge the numbers between defensive linemen and linebackers, taking the best player out of the group. Eight is a minimum, but 10 is possible. The Saints will weigh the last two linebackers against the last two defensive linemen and keep the best player.

Sometimes, things work out because of injuries. The Saints might be able to put a guy on injured reserve and to get the numbers they want. Victor Butler's injury, for example, will be considered. This position has a huge special teams impact. As I've written many times before: Core special-teamers are equal to full-time starters on offense and defense.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

It's easy to say five corners and five safeties, but here is how you split this position up. Five starters, including nickel and then reserves for all five starting spots. Backup safeties must be able to cover the slot and have to be excellent special-teamers.

In the Saints' case, Marcus Ball, Vinnie Sunseri and Stanley Jean-Baptiste likely fill out the bottom of this group. But if the Saints have more injury problems at cornerback and they can't live with the aforementioned three covering the slot, then they are deficient in coverage, making cornerback Trevin Wade a possibility to make the team.

This is an example of when just listing the best players might stack up one way, but when a staff goes over all situations, it might stack it up differently. Those are just some of the thoughts that we go through in personnel discussions around the NFL.

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Old 08-22-2014, 08:43 AM   #2
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Re: Breaking down the New Orleans Saints' roster heading into important preseason game vs. Colts

Very good breakdown.
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Old 08-22-2014, 08:45 AM   #3
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Re: Breaking down the New Orleans Saints' roster heading into important preseason game vs. Colts

QUARTERBACKS

The decision is whether to keep two or three. In all likelihood, if they go with Ryan Griffin and cut Luke McCown, they may opt to save a roster spot for another position.

we have to gamble somewhere and this looks to be the safest one. Luke should be there if you need him. that opens up another spot for an additional DB. which the way the preseason looks so far is the only area that we really solidified in off season. mainly safety.

Last edited by hagan714; 08-22-2014 at 08:50 AM..
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #4
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Re: Breaking down the New Orleans Saints' roster heading into important preseason game vs. Colts

Some people will be hacked by the time these cuts are over
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