Saints: Cornerback depth could be biggest area of concern vs. Packers

New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints never solidified their cornerback unit this offseason, and now they’ll have to face the consequences against one of the best passing offenses in Week 1.

Questionable decisions made in the past tend to come back and bite you in the rear, which is what appears to be happening for the Saints as they scramble to duct-tape the leaks in their secondary unit before their season opener against the Green Bay Packers.

Suffice to say, last minute preparations are usually not a good sign.

New Orleans recently traded for cornerback Bradley Roby, who will be a bonafide starter capable of locking down the backfield with Marshon Lattimore….in Week 2. Roby currently has to serve a suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy that forces him to sit in Week 1.

Lattimore will likely be able to play in Week 1, so there’s a sliver of good news, right?

It’s “good” in the sense that the Saints won’t be completely demolished by the Packers on Sunday, but Lattimore and his undecided starting partner will be up against arguably the best wide receiver in the league in Davante Adams.

If you were to objectively compare the Saints’ secondary with the Packers’ receiver unit right now, New Orleans will have to claw like feral rats to compete against a Rodgers-led elite passing offense.

One of their bright spots in preseason, Ken Crawley missed practice all week due to a hamstring injury. Paulson Adebo could take the field against Green Bay given his stellar performances in the backfield so far, but starting a rookie against an offense that led the NFL in points per game scored last season isn’t the soundest idea.

New Orleans Saints’ cornerback unit is dwindling at the worst possible time

And it’s not just Adams the Saints have to worry about. It’s pretty much the entire Green Bay team.

In 2020, the Packers beat the Saints 37-30 without Adams, and Rodgers threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns that game. So did Drew Brees (288 yards and three touchdowns), but the more useful comparison might be looking at the Saints’ defensive evolution (or de-evolution).

New Orleans had Janoris Jenkins (along with Sheldon Rankins and Trey Hendrickson, to name a few) and they couldn’t stop Green Bay then. Their current defense, mainly the secondary, are far less equipped to stop Green Bay now.

Barring a situation in which Stephon Gilmore somehow falls into their lap, the Saints head into 2021 with one of their most dilapidated secondary units ever.

No, we didn’t forget about Desmond Trufant, who rounds out the cornerback depth chart, or about Keivarae Russell and others on the practice squad. Those players were signed with the intention of filling in, and filling in only.

No one could have reasonably predicted P-Rob retiring or Brian Poole landing on injured reserve. But the Saints knew they had issues in the secondary ever since the offseason began, and the mucky situation they find themselves in now is just the consequence of their own lack of foresight.

The blame game is no fun, though, and as much as we loathe Packers fans, we’re looking forward to a feisty competition between Lattimore and Adams on Sunday.

Next. 5 Saints that fans are looking forward to watching in Week 1. dark

Still, we’ll probably be peeking through our hands whenever Rodgers has the ball. It will be a miracle if the Saints’ corners get out of this one unscathed.