1. Zach Strief vs Charles Brown for starting right tackle. Strief spent time over the last few years relieving veteran Jon Stinchcomb, who was recently released by the Saints.
The Saint signed Strief a new three-year contract this off-season. He has a great oportunity to win the starting job mainly because of his experience and time with the Saints.
Charles Brown, who was drafted in the second round last year as a left tacle, is going to have his opportunities to show he belongs in the starting line in competition with Strief.
The third right tackle on the Saints roster right now is George Foster, a seven year veteran out of Georgia, who figures in primarirly as a backup if he makes the roster at all.
Many people thought there was going to be a battle for the starting center position between veteran Jonathan Goodwin, and second year Center Matt Tenant, but that theory went out the window quickly when the Saints were unable to re-sign Goodwin in free agency.
Goodwin later reached a deal with the San Francisco 49ers for three years to take over the starting spot.
Everyone thought that Tenant was first in line to start for the Saints at center until the team brought in ex-Bear Olin Kreutz to handle starting duties.
2. Rookie running back Mark Ingram vs Chris Ivory. Right now Ingram has been playing with the first team offensse and has so far rushed 13 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns.
He continues to find ways to impress both players and coaches with his knack for finding the end zone.
Chris Ivory is still recovering from a foot injury from last seasonk, and recent sports hernia surgery. He is not expected to be back in pads for at least another weeks or two.
Fans may be forgetting about Ivory and how explosive he was last season. Fully healthly he is a realistic canidate for a 1,000 yard season if given the opportunity, which is unlikely to happen given the Saints shared backfield.
That leave’s the door slightly open for Ingram to be in line behind running back Pierre Thomas for the second spot in the Saints rotation to start the season.
Running backs Joique Bell and Chris Taylor have also shown promise throughout training camp and the first two preseason games.
It may be enough to make the 53 man roster, but that will depend on the number of running backs the Saints plan on keeping, and it’s getting crowded fast.
3. Receiver Adrian Arrington vs. Joe Morgan. Rookie wideout Joe Morgan returned a punt against the 49ers 78 yards for a touchdown. He then caught a 58 yard touchdown bomb from Chase Daniel against the Texans, proving he has elite speed at the NFL level.
Arrington has more experence than Morgan but has been injured for much of training camp. He returned to the lineup against the Texans, but never really showed up. As of now I would have to say it’s Morgan’s job to lose.
But there are two more preseason games and plenty training camp sessions still to go.
Evaluations are far from over for many of these young players. Much will be decided in the next two weeks — who’ s starting, and who’s staying — so it’s a critical for the players and the coaching staff to get it right.
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