Saints News

OTA Position Spotlight: Lewis can beat out Greer


November 4, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle (82) is unable to catch a pass in the end zone while defended by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis (23) during the third quarter of an NFL game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the team’s first week of organized team activities, Keenan Lewis started with the first team and made a case for a starting position at defensive back. If veteran Jabari Greer doesn’t step up in training camp, he’ll lose his starting job.

Last season, fans were livid with a Saints pass defense that allowed nearly 300 yards passing per game last  year. The names to blame? Defensive backs Patrick Robinson and Jabari Greer.

Greer and Robinson both stand at 5-foot-11 and both struggled mightily last year in pass coverage. They both managed to get three interceptions last year, but Robinson posted 18 passes defended to Greer’s 13 passes defended.

Greer is 31 years old, losing a couple of steps in terms of his speed, and coming off a season where the entire defense is being scrutinized. The Saints acquired Keenan Lewis in the off-season as well and he definitely has the ability to take away one of those top corner spots.

Lewis is four years younger and about 20 pounds heavier than Greer. That’s important against strong receivers in the NFC South like Atlanta’s Roddy White and Carolina’s Steve Smith. He wasn’t a starter in Pittsburgh but that didn’t stop him from defending 23 passes last year for the Steelers.

He isn’t significantly taller than Greer but displays better leaping ability to attack the ball while it is in the air than Greer did last year. Every inch helps against NFC South receivers like Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson.

In the first day of OTA’s, Lewis started with the first team and displayed his ability to break up passes and even came away with an interception. While head coach Sean Payton will be the first to tell you not to put any stock in Lewis starting with the first team, you’d be crazy to think that Lewis’ performance didn’t catch his eye.

It’s still May and nobody (outside of quarterback Drew Brees) has won their position yet. After this first OTA session however, the stock for Keenan Lewis is on the rise.