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Saints Training Camp Preview: Rookie Edition Part 2

Matt Tennant may be a late round draft pick, but he’s probably a gleam in the eye of Sean Payton. The Center position is being held down by a grizzled veteran in Jonathan Goodwin. Leckey has had a shot at a starting job in two places (STL and ARI) and wasn’t able to hold on to it at either team. It’s likely that Leckey is gone, unless either Goodwin or Tennant have a really bad camp. Goodwin will start with Tenant backing him up unless Tenant blows the doors off and starts. Check mark for Tennant.

Sean Canfield is destined for either the practice squad or the streets. Sean Payton has shown little aptitude to put a rookie or inexperienced QB behind Drew Brees. He seems to like older veterans as the number 2 and usually does not carry a 3rd (Lance Moore is the emergency QB). The Saints currently do not have a veteran QB on the roster, but it’s widely expected that when the CBA rules expire in a few days that Patrick Ramsey will be signed to compete with Sean Canfield and Chase Daniel. This is not a good sign for Canfield. Daniel was on the roster to start the 2009 season, but that was only because the Saints had to sign him to the active roster to claim him on waivers from the Redskins. He ended up on the practice squad later in the season. Unless Canfield is spectacular, his best bet is the practice squad, and he’ll have to beat Daniel even for that. X mark for Canfield.

Tanner and Billings are in a tough spot to make the 2010 Saints (as well as second year man Matt Simon). The Saints have so many wide receivers that other teams would die for; it’s going to be really hard for either to make the team. Colston is the #1, Meachem, Moore and Henderson are expected to fight it out for the #2 spot, with the losing pair being the slot and 4th WR. Behind them are some fan favorites in Courtney Roby, Rod Harper and Adrian Arrington.

Roby secured a roster spot through his kick return ability and is likely to try to do that again this year. The problem for Roby is that no one seems to see him as anything other than a KR specialist. That takes away a roster spot that a more versatile player could fill. If any of the other WRs (or any other positions) shows great flashes at KR, Roby may lose his spot. If Arrington can stay healthy for a full training camp (and season), he has shown some talent at WR. Harper showed some promise in the2009 preseason, but was inactive for the first 4 games and ended his season with a stress fracture in October. If Harper stays healthy and continues to progress, he is likely to make the team again.
So, if you count Colston, Meachem, Moore, and Henderson, that leaves Harper as a favorite for the 5th spot and probably a 6th spot up for grabs between KR specialist Roby, Arrington, Billings, Tanner and Simon. Good luck rookies, you better be spectacular (X for both).

Brandon Carter has a lot of work to do, but making this team is not impossible for him. The Saints are set at starter at Guard. Nicks and Evans are pro-bowl caliber guards and are considered one of the best tandems in the NFL. However, behind them are a lot of question marks. The only experienced guy is Terrance Metcalf and he comes to the Saints after a lackluster career with the Chicago Bears. Because of the experience, he may make the team, but there is going to be an open competition for the two backup guard spots. If we assume Metcalf takes one, Tim Duckworth is the only player that has any experience and that has all been as a practice squad journeyman. Na’Shan Goddard is also a journeyman that is on his 4th team. That leaves Brandon Carter with a golden opportunity to secure a spot with the NFL champions and play some snaps if a starter needs to come out of the game. More than likely he will end up on the practice squad, but he has a shot. Question mark for Carter.

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3 Responses to “Saints Training Camp Preview: Rookie Edition Part 2”

  1. Rich Castanias says:

    I note where you state that no one sees Roby as anything but a KR. He worked with the first team in mini-camp at WR, he is quite possibly the best cover man on special teams as a gunner on punts and on kick offs he is in on every tackle.

    This kid brings football intelligence, speed, strength, and agility to the Saints special teams. I think a lot of people forget just what all he did in the Super Bowl. To me he was the MVP of that game. Downing the ball inside the 10 twice, making big special teams tackles, one or two great returns setting up scores for the Saints, and lets not forget that it was his speed and the threat of a big hit that made Hank Baskett of the Colts lose/fumble the ball on the onside kick to start the second half. But no one seems to remember all that he has done. Watch the special teams when you are at a game and see just what he does. It’s best for the Saints if he doesn’t play WR because if they do that then they will most likely remove him from special teams coverage teams.

    So, no problem for Roby, especially with a $1.4 million contract (signed tender) for this year. This kid gets better every year. He’s a freak in that he seems to get stronger and faster the older he gets-unlike about every other player in the NFL. How about more props for this kid that does everything he is asked-and a heckuva lot more, is active in the community, and is a favorite amongst Saints fans.

  2. Jean-Paul Bergeaux says:

    Thanks for the input Rich. The Special Teams efforts that Roby has contributed outside of his kick returing are an important note. Roby has indeed been more in ST than just a KR, so my statement was a little too focused. However, outside of the preseason Roby has 1 catch for 6 yards as a true WR in all his time with the Saints. He’s taken very few snaps as a true WR even when several have gone down to injury. It’s very possible that he makes the team as a special teams guy, however, Sean Payton has stressed that he wants guys who are versatile.

    On the other hand, Payton has kept Troy Evans as mainly a special teams guy, but he must have been considered a viable backup at LB since he started over some younger developing LBs when Fujita went down last year. That didn’t go well, however, and the younger LBs ended up replacing Evans, so it will be an interesting year for Evans, and that situation may mean something to Roby.

  3. Rich Castanias says:

    Thanks Jean-Paul,

    Great response. My apologies for just getting back to responding. I agree it will be a very interesting and very important year for Roby.

    Roby is an excellent athlete and I hope that he is given the chance to show his talent as a Wide Receiver and that he takes great advantage of that opportunity.

    I still say that he was one of the most important players in the Saints Super Bowl victory last season vs. the Colts. But that was last year and he has to keep it up this year and beyond to stick. I am sure he appreciates every day he is in the NFL and will continue to work hard and not rest until he has done everything he can to help make this Saints team better.

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