Terron Armstead needs surgery.
The second major Saints injury of the offseason, and it strikes the OL again. During Wednesday’s practice, Terron Armstead tore his labrum. He will require surgery.
The timetable for his return is projected around 4-6 months. That means somewhere between October and December. That means somewhere between Week 4 and the end of the season.
It is now entirely possible that the Saints have to play the entirety of 2017 without their star LT. And Max Unger is still recovering from a foot injury that could derail him into the season.
Fortunately, the OL is the Saints’ deepest position. They have a number of viable options behind Armstead on the bench. Senio Kelemete played some LT in 2016, and looked very solid in the role. But it’s not his natural position. Tackle is more suited for Andrus Peat, but the Saints may be loathe to continue moving him around the line so frequently.
The ideal candidate to earn the starting spot is rookie Ryan Ramczyk. The question is whether or not Ramczyk is ready to play. The Saints had him ranked in their top 15 draft prospects, so he should have the talent to play Day 1. But he’s coming off of a hip surgery. Still, he’s already logged some snaps in camp and the Saints have to hope that he can ready himself to see the field by Week 1.
That leaves Senio Kelemete as the main backup behind a rookie, an of-injured Peat and a 33-year-old Zach Strief. Strief’s age seemed less of a big deal when he had a first-round pick backing him up. Now, it’s important than ever that he stay healthy and play at a high level.
I don’t think there’s reason to panic. The Saints had an injured OL last year and have added talent. Brees can move the ball quickly. But at 38 years-old, he’ll be at his best if he can stay off the dirt.