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Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Forget the score; how Saints rookies Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk fare is what matters against the Chargers COSTA MESA, Calif. — A few things actually will matter when the New Orleans Saints step onto the field Sunday. If you ...

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Old 08-19-2017, 04:47 PM   #1
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Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Forget the score; how Saints rookies Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk fare is what matters against the Chargers

COSTA MESA, Calif. — A few things actually will matter when the New Orleans Saints step onto the field Sunday. If you think one of those is ending their preseason losing streak, you can stop reading this, because you’re in the wrong place.

Just ask coach Sean Payton how much time he has spent plotting to improve his exhibition record.

“I hadn’t really paid too much attention,” he said. “Obviously, there are some things we prioritize in the preseason, and I think we want to win every time we compete. With that being said, a lot of it is making sure we get the right guys to work and receive a chance to evaluate and make the right decisions.”

How reserve quarterbacks Ryan Nassib and Garrett Grayson perform against the Los Angeles Chargers’ third- and fourth-string defenses Sunday will have no bearing on what happens in September, when the results matter. How cornerback Marshon Lattimore and tackle Ryan Ramczyk do will matter, and that’s why you should have your eyes on those players, not the scoreboard.

A few months ago, it looked like the rookie first-round picks were in an enviable situation. With Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams set to start at cornerback, it looked like Lattimore could take some time to adjust to life in the NFL, learn how to play zone defense and come along at his own pace. The same was true for Ramczyk, since the Saints had Terron Armstead and Zach Strief at tackle.

All of those luxuries are gone.

Breaux had surgery to repair a broken fibula this past week, and Armstead will miss at least the first four months of the season with a shoulder injury. Neither Lattimore nor Ramczyk will be thrown into the fire unless the coaching staff thinks he's ready, but ending the early-season woes that have plagued the Saints over the past few years will be a lot easier if both are up to speed in time for the season opener at Minnesota.

There is little to evaluate with Lattimore, since he suffered a knee sprain early in training camp and is just now working his way back into the mix. He has shown in camp that his man-coverage skills are legitimate, which shouldn’t be a surprise since he only allowed 18 receptions on 41 targets last season at Ohio State.

What we need to see is whether those skills translate to the NFL, where players run more routes and do a better job of disguising them, and whether he can play zone coverage, which is something Lattimore wasn’t asked to do in college. It won't be a surprise if he has some struggles accomplishing the latter task.

“Everything is a learning process at that position,” defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn said. “If you find one corner that has it all down, you let me know who it is, because I want to sit down and talk to him. That’s why you might see a guy that’s at the top one year, and the next year he’s down here. It’s always changing, and guys are always getting better. Guys are learning new techniques.”

There is a little more evidence with Ramczyk, although he also missed time in camp with an undisclosed injury, including the first preseason game at Cleveland.

His first exposure to outside competition came this week in joint practices, and the results were mixed. During Thursday’s session, he allowed a few sacks to pass rushers Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, but he acquitted himself well on Friday (when practice was conducted in shorts and shells). Sunday's game will be an important measuring stick.

The need for Ramczyk to be up to speed early in the season might be the more pressing situation. The Saints have other options at tackle, but all of them struggled against the Browns. If the rookie falters during the next three preseason games, it could force New Orleans to move Andrus Peat back to left tackle, which is something it would like to avoid.

The Saints have more options if Lattimore struggles. Ken Crawley or Sterling Moore could play on the outside, and New Orleans only needs a temporary fix since Breaux should be back in late September or early October.

But the present and future will appear much brighter if both Lattimore and Ramczyk are up to speed. And that’s why you shouldn’t care about the score in a game where Drew Brees, Cam Jordan, Mark Ingram, Adrian Peterson and any of the other regulars might only play a handful of snaps, if at all.

How the reserves perform in the fourth quarter Sunday won’t matter against the Vikings in Week 1. Lattimore and Ramczyk will — a lot.

FOLLOW NICK UNDERHILL ON TWITTER, @NICK_UNDERHILL.​

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Old 08-20-2017, 12:26 AM   #2
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Bump ...
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Old 08-20-2017, 12:30 AM   #3
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

I'd add Ken Crawley to this discussion. He needs to have a good showing vs SD and I believe his play will matter. I can see him getting more playing time in 2017 due to injuries and inexperience at the corner position.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:12 AM   #4
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

I couldn't agree more.
However we also need a win at some point sooner the better. I think a win matters in preseason this years and I just think it would go a long way for the morale of the team. Those two guys HAVE to be immediate impacts for us to have a shot at the playoffs imo. I think they will. It would be great to see both scenarios unfold.
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Old 08-20-2017, 05:55 AM   #5
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

yep time will tell
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Old 08-20-2017, 06:45 AM   #6
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Originally Posted by K Major View Post
I'd add Ken Crawley to this discussion. He needs to have a good showing vs SD and I believe his play will matter. I can see him getting more playing time in 2017 due to injuries and inexperience at the corner position.
Crawley is making this team because he's the fourth best CB on the roster, assuming everyone is healthy and Lattimore is who he's supposed to be...

It's really rare to have a reserve CB with his playing experience; and an improved pass rush and safety play will only make these DBs look better...
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:57 PM   #7
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Just evaluate baby!!!
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:18 PM   #8
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Ram was solid from what I heard, that's huge. We have rebuilt our oline..if we could just get Armistead healthy we'd be set across the board on oline when Strief retires
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:19 PM   #9
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
I couldn't agree more.
However we also need a win at some point sooner the better. I think a win matters in preseason this years and I just think it would go a long way for the morale of the team. Those two guys HAVE to be immediate impacts for us to have a shot at the playoffs imo. I think they will. It would be great to see both scenarios unfold.
We need to come out and just really dominate someone. Ya know what I mean, just throw it on someone
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:28 PM   #10
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Re: Forget the score; Marshon Lattimore and Ryan Ramczyk are what matters

Originally Posted by jeanpierre View Post
Crawley is making this team because he's the fourth best CB on the roster, assuming everyone is healthy and Lattimore is who he's supposed to be...

It's really rare to have a reserve CB with his playing experience; and an improved pass rush and safety play will only make these DBs look better...
From the camp reports I've read this year, Crawley may be even higher than 4th best
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