Seven Players Under Pressure

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Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk.com, wrote an article for sportingnews.com about seven players around the NFL who are feeling the most pressure in 2008. Reggie Bush came in at #2 on his list and here is what he said about him:

"2. Reggie Bush, running back, Saints. Bush deserves credit for taking football more seriously as he prepares for his third season. But will showing up for most of the offseason workouts and generally caring more about the game allow him to suddenly run circles around NFL defensive backs, just like he made Fresno State defenders look like blindfolded schoolchildren with their shoes tied together?This isn’t about desire; it’s about ability. In two full years, Bush simply hasn’t been the guy that everyone thought he’d be. Thus, the pressure in this case comes primarily from Bush himself; the rest of us already know that he’s not the next Gale Sayers. Heck, Reggie isn’t even the current Maurice Jones-Drew."

Harsh. Anyways, I thought it’d be a good idea to look at seven different players on the Saints roster who are feeling the most pressure to contribute.

1. Deuce McAllister: Deuce is coming off two more knee surgeries and is around that age where running backs begin their decline. The team has already flirted with free agent RB Shaun Alexander and with young running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas already on the roster, it Deuce will have to produce at a high level to remain with the team.

2. Robert Meachem/ Devery Henderson: This tandem has had their fair share of troubles in their young careers. Meachem was the only first round pick in 2007 to not play in a single game and struggled with a knee injury. Henderson, a great talent, has yet to establish himself as an every down receiver despite having numerous chances to do so. Wide receiver will be a highly competitive position during training camp and these two have to play their butts off. Henderson faces the possibility of being cut with a sub par camp and Meachem might find himself in a difficult position as well. Neither players are considered special teams players which makes the need for them to play great at the wide receiver position to hang around.

3. Jason David: When David signed a four-year $15.6 million contract with the team last offseason, many wondered how he adjust to the team’s man-to-man system. Nobody would have guessed that it would have gone as poorly as it did in his first season with the team. David was just plain old awful. This year, he now faces much more competition with the additions of free agent signings Randall Gay and Aaron Glenn, as well as second round pick Tracy Porter. David will have to make the necessary adjustments if he wants to find playing time or maybe even to make the roster period.

4. Josh Bullocks: Bullocks is now entering his fourth season in the league and has yet to prove himself as a capable starting safety. He was regarded as a ball hawk coming out of Nebraska and has only picked off 5 passes in his three seasons with the team. He has looked lost at times in coverage and has blown numerous opportunities to make plays. The weak corner blame has covered up some of his issues but with the improvement there it is on him to develop.

5. Jonathan Goodwin: Goodwin has been a backup for the team for the past few seasons. This year, with the departure of Jeff Faine, Goodwin will be looked at to be the team’s starting center. With the other four starters remaining, Goodwin will be looked at to blame if the play slips from last season.

6. Jonathan Vilma: The team desperately needs a healthy, tackling-machine Jonathan Vilma. Anything less will be a disappointment. The team hasn’t had a linebacker with the capabilities of Vilma since the Dome Patrol days. Vilma has the capability to change the face and attitude of the defense and that would be huge for the team.

7. Charles Grant: After signing a monster contract extension last season, Grant turned in a poor season. After the poor season, Grant turned in a poor offseason. He was indited on involuntary manslaughter charges (to which he has plead not guilty). The team has added young pass rusher, Bobby McCray who has looked good thus far during the minicamps and OTA’s. Grant faces a lot of heat this year needing to turn in a good season and getting through the legal troubles.