There have been allot of questions, the last few months on how much injuries will affect the 2008 season for the New Orleans Saints.
Deuce McAllister is by far a big component of the Saints offense, without a big bruising back coming out of the backfield; the Saints will only have a passing game. It will not take long to find a way to defend against Drew Brees, if Deuce is not in the line up. He has looked good so far, with minor swelling, and all reports have him ready to march in come September.
One of the biggest defensive pickups for the Saints this off season was Jonathan Vilma; he also has been questionable coming off from injury. The success of the Defense weighs heavily on him being on the field.. He has been impressive so far, and his limited reps, should not hinder his ability to step in, and provide the tough leadership the Saints need on the defensive side of the ball.
Mike McKenzie has been slow to return, but looks to be close. The big question for him, will be has he lost a step? The only consolation is the depth the Saints have in proven veterans, and young emerging talent at the corner back position.
If there is one thing the Saints are not lacking, is depth at each position. The battle to make the roster as a special team?s player is going to be tough.
The number two, and three wide out position is still in question or at least who will be lining up, look for Meachem and Patten to hold down those spots. After that, it will depend on who has the best preseason. Copper, Henderson, Arrington, Green and Moore, are all going to be doing their best to impress Coach Payton.
Don?t look for Jeremy Shockey to see allot of playing time either in August. Campbell, and Miller, along with Ortega will see most of the reps at the tightend position.
As far as the running backs, Pierre Thomas will use every chance he gets to prove he was not a one hit wonder from last years Bears game, and can help make a difference in the Saints running game. Aarron Stecker will also be trying to solidify his place. Since New Orleans is a pass first offense, Coach Payton and gang may look to cut down the depth at running back in order to hold onto another receiver.
The offensive line is healthy, there is no question about the starting five, the preseason will give second year players, tackle Jermon Bushros, guard Andy Alleman, and this years draft pick Carl Nicks, a chance to show they will be able to step up, in case one of the incumbents go down.
Defensive injuries have hampered some players from practicing at each position as noted earlier with Vilma, and McKenzie. The defensive line has had a case of sore knees, and second round draft pick Tracy Porter suffered a minor hamstring pull that is holding him back from getting those precious reps he needs to make him a possible CB2 or nickel starter.
But don?t worry people, the preseason is just starting, and as it looks, as if everyone is healing fine, and most of the holdouts are only precautionary. Look for the Saints to come marching in and ready to go full force when it?s time and the score counts.