Roster cuts were surprising to say the least as several players were sent packing that no one would have guessed. Jon Stinchcomb, Alex Brown, Chris Reis, Lynell Hamilton, and Pierson Prioleau were all expected to be on the roster.
The Saints also chose to keep two kickers on the roster and two full backs. Starting kicker Garrett Hartley suffered a hip flexor against the Raiders, so the Saints signed ex-Panther John Kasay as his replacement.
Hartley could miss up to six weeks with the injury. By keeping him on the roster though the Saints are betting that he will return much sooner.
Jed Collins and Korey Hall battled the entirety of training camp for the right to replace Heath Evans in the starting lineup as the teams new full back.
Both played extremely well and thus both where awarded with roster spots. New Orleans could use each on the field at the same time in heavy run formations, one as a lead blocking full back, and one as a blocking tight end.
This theory is lent credibility by the fact that tight ends Tory Humphrey, Tyler Lorenzen, and Michael Higgins were all released, leaving only Jimmy Graham and David Thomas on the 53 man roster.
That of course does not meab that the Saints will not look into free agency for another tight end.
Some undrafted talent made the cut including safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, defensive tackles Mitch King and Tom Johnson, as well as running back Joique Bell.
The most surprising of which being Bell, who became the teams leading rusher in this preseason with 182 yards, averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
His addition only strengthens what should already be a potent group of running backs. Click here to view the entire 53 man roster.
At first glance the Saints appear to be a much better team . On paper the defensive line is much improved, as is the running back group, and Drew Brees is still leading what has always been a potent passing attack.
You have to like their chances this season to get back to the Superbowl, although there are still plenty of questions still yet to be answered.
Will the defense come together? Can the running backs deliver consistently? Can the re-built offensive line protect Drew Brees? Do the Saints have the depth they needed to make another run at the title?
In four days the answers to all these questions will start to emerge as the Saints will face one of their toughest tests of the season when they face the defending Superbowl champion Green Bay Packers on September 8th.
Tags: 2011 NFL Draft 2011 NFL Lockout 2011 NFL Preseason Alex Brown Chris Reis Houston Texans Isa Abdul-Quddus Joique Bell Jon Stinchcomb Lynell Hamilton Mitch King New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints @ Green Bay Packers 2011 NFL Oaklans Raiders Pierson Prioleau San Francisco 49'ers Tennessee Titans Tom Johnson