Injury Prone O Line
The Saints offensive line has been the bread and butter for the Saints winning formula.
The Saints featured three Pro Bowlers last year on the offensive line, left tackle Terron Armstead, left guard Andrus Peat, and recently-released right guard Larry Warford. The team’s right tackle, Ryan Ramczyk, shockingly didn’t make the Pro Bowl but garnered the First-Team All-Pro.
The Saints offensive line has gained recognition for doing an excellent job of protecting Brees, but it hasn’t always been smooth going, due to constant injuries.
Pro Football Reference listed how Pro Bowl Left Tackle Terron Armstead has missed 13 games in the past three seasons, while Pro Bowl left guard Andrus Peat has missed ten games in the past three seasons.
Some positive notes are that Peat usually missed time while Armstead was healthy, vice versa.
The Saints will not only have upcoming serious issues if one of those linemen is hurt, but it could be terrible news for Drew Brees and company if their reoccurring injuries surface at the same time. Not only has Brees shown to struggle dramatically without quality protection upfront, but his 41-year-old body also can’t afford to compile hits for 16 games, plus a post-season next year.
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Drew Brees may have pinpoint accuracy and weapons to distribute the football to, but he lacks the ability that quarterback, Taysom Hill has to leave the pocket and break out a huge gain if the protection breaks down.
The Saints have done a great job of providing Brees with elite protection, but it doesn’t serve him well if the offensive line is injured or playing injured against an elite defensive line.
Star Tribune points out how Vikings defensive ends Everson Griffin and Danielle Hunter tore up Andrus Peat, who was battling a forearm injury and the rest of the Saints O line in the wildcard round, as both defensive monsters came out with 1.5 sacks. One of the sacks forced quickly by Danielle Hunter left Brees with no chance to escape, and Hunter managed to strip the ball out and recover the ball for the Vikings.
Brees, who stands at 5-foot-11 and has never shown to be sneaky fast, will need all his protection healthy and playing at their highest ability.
The Saints o line needs to be healthy, but they need to have the communication up to par with their highly intelligent quarterback. Caesar Ruiz, first-round center out of Michigan, will look to pencil in as the starting center.
Brees will need to make sure his communication with Ruiz is superb, so he can make all of the adjustments needed come next year. The Saints made a head-scratching move this offseason when they cut their right guard Larry Warford, Warford, who made the Pro Bowl a year ago and could offer quality depth.
The Saints don’t want to let Brees get knocked on the ground and be unable to play at his highest capability during the 2020 season, which may be his last season. Sean Payton needs to develop a plan to keep their highly touted quarterback healthy this year and utilize one of the most talented rosters during the QB-head coach’s tenure.