The New Orleans Saints will wrap up their 2012 preseason with a final game against the Tennessee Titans — the last chance for on-the-bubble young players and aging veterans to earn a roster spot on the final 53.
Several positions remain open on the Saints roster, and who the teams selects to flesh out will be decided by performances on the field tonight.
Corner: The Saints top three corner’s are already set — Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, and Johnny Patrick. However the fourth, fifth, and perhaps even sixth spot are still up for grabs. Currently rookie Corey White is battling with veteran Elbert Mack and Marquis Johnson. White was a draft pick, and thus stands little chance of being cut. He has also played well this preseason, exhibiting good coverage and tackling ability. Mack and Johnson have both played well too, but it’s Marquis that’s caught the coaches eye and given his familiarity with Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive scheme — having played in the defense with the Rams — gives him an advantage over Mack. New Orleans will likely keep just five corners on the roster, and the player that turns in the best overall performance tonight could be safe when final cuts happen tomorrow.
Running Back: Just like at corner, the Saints top three running backs are set in stone. That group includes Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Darren Sproles. New Orleans could opt to keep five total running backs on the roster in respect to injuries, but typically they only carry four. Mark Ingram, Travaris Cadet, and Joe Banyard remain on the roster behind the starting trio. Banyard will be cut but could be placed on the practice squad, and the general consensus is that the Saints must choose between either Ivory or Cadet. There are several reasons why the Saints should keep both, Ivory is the teams best inside runner, and Cadet has had an outstanding preseason as he leads the team in receptions with 22. If the Saints are going to part ways with one, then tonight will be measuring stick as to who stays and who goes. Our opinion is it would be unwise for the Saints to let either running back walk.
Wide Receiver: This position is the most crowded on the roster, housing nine players in total; Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Adrian Arrington, Nick Toon, Cortney Roby, Joseph Morgan, Andy Tanner, and Greg Camarillo. The incumbent starters will remain — Colston, Moore, Henderson — but the rest of the slots remain wide open to the best players available. Arrington was hot during training camp and seemed to have the fourth receiver spot all but locked up until a knee injury forced him to the sideline. In his absence Morgan and Roby have had an opportunity to showcase their talents, and both have made a compelling case to make the final roster. Roby is familiar with the offense and is one of the teams leaders in receptions so far this preseason among being a long-time special teams contributor. Morgan is the fastest player on the team, and his game changing deep speed is too hard to ignore heading into the regular season. Long shot Andy Tanner began to emerge through the Saints first three preseason games before suffering an ankle injury. Nick Toon — the Saints fourth round pick this year — has missed every preseason game thus far with a foot injury. It’s expected that he will see significant game action against the Titans tonight where he will have only one chance to prove he belongs on the active roster.