The New Orleans Saints will get Keith Kirkwood back for the first time this season in the coming weeks, and he may instantly have an important role.
Coming into the season, the fight for the spot behind Ted Ginn Jr. was going to be between Tre’Quan Smith and Keith Kirkwood. Now, the New Orleans Saints No. 2 receiver may be up for all three to have a shot at.
Ted Ginn Jr. has been a part of the Saints offense for the last two seasons, not including the current one. He’s, throughout his time with the team, cemented himself as the clear-cut No. 2. Sadly, that’s not the case anymore.
Ginn Jr. is tied for sixth-most drops in the league this season. Among the receivers with at least five drops, he’s been targeted the second-fewest. He has just 36 targets and five drops. Ginn Jr. will lose his spot to Kirkwood or Smith with these performances.
That’s what Kirkwood will bring.
With over a 60% catch rate last season, Kirkwood was more trustworthy with his targets than Ginn Jr. has been in both this season and last. The 25-year-old may not bring the speed of the 34-year-old Ginn, but having the hands is all that’ll matter to New Orleans.
Even if Kirkwood isn’t the desired play, for the first time this season, it’ll give Sean Payton options. If he wants to send a message to his receiving corp, he can.
Throughout the majority of this season, the team has been without Smith and Kirkwood, only having Michael Thomas and Ginn Jr. as competent receivers. That said, even as poorly as Ginn Jr. has played, Payton didn’t have many other options.
However, according to The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell, head coach Sean Payton noted that Kirkwood, who was played on the injured reserve early this season, is looking better and moving well.
The Saints, who didn’t have a single receiving touchdown last week, need to get Drew Brees more options. With Smith’s return this past week, it’s time for Kirkwood to come in and give this team yet another boost.
It’s time to hold players accountable, and you can only do that with a healthy roster.