New Orleans Saints: Roster deep at receiver, running back
By Keith Null
One thing the New Orleans Saints don’t lack is talent, lot’s of it on a roster littered with potential keepers for the final 53-man roster. This is especially evident at two positions — running back and wide receiver.
In today’s NFL more and more teams have begun to deploy multiple players in their backfields, gone are the days of the three-down-workhorse running backs that used to dominate the league.
Sometimes a team may split the carries between two or three running backs in an effort to keep fresh legs on the field and injuries to a minimum.
The Saints take that one step further, dividing carries four ways between Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, and Chris Ivory.
It’s a tactic that keeps opposing defenses guessing, and resulted in 132 yards per game last season, which ranked the Saints as the sixth best rushing offense in the NFL.
The proof is in the pudding — you can never have too many quality running backs on the roster.
Thomas, Ingram, Sproles, and Ivory are a lock to make the final roster, and whether or not the Saints keep a fifth running back or not will be decided in the coming weeks.
One player on the bubble is undrafted free agent Travaris Cadet, formerly of Appalachian State.
Cadet has had a strong showing with the Saints so far this preseason, catching 14 passes for 129 yards and one touchdown. He also has posted 29 rushing yards on seven carries.
But Cadet has also shown flashes as a returner, ripping off a 21 yard punt return and a 28 yard kick return against the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game.
If there are two things the Saints like in young running backs it’s the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and contribute on special teams.
If Cadet can show improvement running the ball between the tackles he could find himself rounding out the running back core as the units fifth member in 2012.
The Saints have an embarrassment of riches at receiver, too, returning starters Marques Colston, Lance Moore, and Devery Henderson.
Behind them lay Courtney Roby, Adrian Arrington, Joseph Morgan, Andy Tanner, and fourth round selection Nick Toon — all of which bring their own dynamic to the playing field.
Roby and Arrington have been with the Saints for years, and know the offense extremely well.
In fact Arrington had been lighting up training camp before injuring his knee. He has missed both preseason games, and likely could be out longer as reports indicate he may need surgery.
Morgan could be the fastest player on the Saints roster — evident by his penchant for the big plays down field and up field as a return man — and the Saints cannot ignore such elite speed.
Tanner has been on the bubble with the Saints before, but never seems to find his way onto the roster.
He is a big receiving target standing an even six feet and a shade under two hundred pounds, and may be the best route runner out of the younger receiver’s vying for a roster spot.
Tanner has eight catches for 120 yards this preseason for an average of 15 yards per catch.
Toon has yet to make his preseason debut because of a foot injury, but early reports are encouraging. He should transition well into the offense once healthy.
Any one of these young players could potentially start with any other NFL team, but with the Saints, considering their depth, are battling to stick with the team.
The next three weeks will be important for them all.