A major injury and costly communication breakdowns have prompted the New Orleans Saints to improve their cornerback corps via trade or free agency.
Four weeks ago, thinking the Saints would be 2-1 through the first three games of 2018 would be an absolutely valid prediction. Many were on that wavelength. But the results of each individual game are not parallel to most predictions.
The consensus thinking during preseason was that New Orleans would easily win over both Tampa Bay and Cleveland and have a tough time beating Atlanta on the road for week 3. Instead, the Saints got blown out at home against the “magical” Buccaneers, nearly gave the Browns their first win in over 625 days (shoutout to the Jets) and battled back to win by six points in overtime against the stingy Falcons.
Despite the 2-1 record, only a few things have been consistent so far for the Saints: Drew Brees throwing the ball accurately, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara breaking records and the Saints secondary getting burned.
The defense gave up 41 points and 529 yards of offense against Tampa Bay, including two passing touchdowns of 50-plus yards. Throw Taylor and the woeful Browns came into the Dome and found themselves up 12-3 to start the final quarter during week 2. Some scrappy play by New Orleans, and a ton of poor-kicking breaks, led to the Saints barely winning. But Taylor still threw for 246 yards and one touchdown a week before being replaced officially by Baker Mayfield.
And, of course, this past Sunday exposed the biggest problem this defense has. Reigning-Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore has been able to (mostly) handle his own this season after a spectacular showing in 2017. However, the spot opposite Lattimore is absolutely up for grabs, as both PJ Williams and Ken Crawley played far below-par against the Falcons. Rookie Calvin Ridley amassed 176 yards and three touchdowns, all while being covered by either Williams or Crawley, who have been rotating out at CB2. Even before Sunday, the atrocious performances by this secondary in the first two weeks were enough for the team to call upon some major help.
And, as of yesterday, add in Patrick Robinson’s broken ankle. Robinson was the primary slot cornerback, and his placement on IR signals an immediate move to be made by New Orleans. Luckily, there are a couple of different outlets the Saints can utilize to fix this issue, which seems to be the missing piece to this Super Bowl-contending roster.