Ladies and Gentlemen…Your 2013 New Orleans Saints
10 Posted on August 30th, 2013 by Himself
So...who's going to be on the Saints' 53-man roster for 2013? Hell, I don't know. But everyone else is making his best guess, so I suppose it's time for me to join in. Or something.
I‘ve been frantically working trying to spruce this place up in time for the season opener. It’s going well, but it’s taking up much of my time, at a time when a lot is happening. Mark Ingram is being traded, Mark Ingram is not being traded, etc. etc.
So anyway, I wanted to get this out of the way: the 53-man roster. I might not even be able to finish this before the first cuts are announced (pay attention to the timestamp), but I wanted to have my say. Seems everyone has his own idea—and has for months—who ought to be on the final roster. I’m not different, except that Sean Payton agrees with me. As does Mickey. So you can consider this the official final roster, unless someone at the Saints screws up, cuts the wrong guys, and they’re too embarrassed to admit it. It’s happened before.
Travis Dauro over at Canal Street Chronicles has put together a pretty good roster that is almost what I would do, but with two major exceptions, which I’ll detail below. So let’s get into it.
Drew Brees, Luke McCown. This one is a no-brainer. Drew is the starter, Luke is the clipboard holder and designated closer if it’s a laugher. Ryan Griffin is going to have to be happy with the practice squad. He didn’t do enough Thursday night, I think, to warrant too much worry about not clearing waivers.
Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson. Again, to me, a no-brainer. I was all in favor of giving Travaris Cadet a roster spot last year, and I’m in favor of giving one to Robinson this year for exactly the same reason: he’s earned it. The guy runs like a cross between Thomas and Chris Ivory…and a running back is primarily a running back. Robinson has proven himself to be better at that role than Cadet. Sorry, Traveris. It was fun. We don’t blame you for last year.
Jed Collins. Who else?
Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Kenny Stills, Nick Toon, Preston Parker, Andy Tanner. So far, this is exactly Travis’ roster. He and I apparently both agree that Andy Tanner is too good to let go, because there’s no way he clears waivers this year. Courtney Roby is a serviceable receiver and a good gunner on the punt team, so there’s a chance he keeps his roster spot; but, again, wide receivers are primarily receivers, and Tanner is Lance Moore Jr. I can hardly wait to see film of Payton in the Super Bowl saying “I want…Andy Tanner.”
Jimmy Graham, Ben Watson, Jake Ballard. Here’s one major point of disagreement I have with Travis: the Saints need a strong tight end contingent if they’re going to improve both their running and passing games. Two-tight end sets can wear down players by the end of the year; we certainly need more than two. I’d even be tempted to sign four, because I want to see a three-tight end set with a heavy backfield. Defend that. As far as Ballard goes, he’s a good tight end who’s unexpectedly available, but there are others, and will be still more available after Sunday. So lets just say, Graham, Watson, Ballard, and somebody else.
Charles Brown, Ben Grubbs, Brian De La Puente, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief, Terron Armstead, Marcel Jones, Andrew Tiller. Again, this is Travis’ lineup. The starters are pretty well set; and Armstead, Jones, and Tiller give decent depth. But not ideal depth: if De La Puente goes down, we’re screwed. So do we keep Eric Olsen or Tim Lelito? This may actually be the toughest decision on the entire roster.
Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks, John Jenkins, Brodrick Bunkley, Glenn Foster, Tyrunn Walker. And this may be the easiest decision outside of quarterbacks. These guys have been the stars of the defense from the beginning of training camp. Foster is the latest nobody to play his way onto the Saints’ roster; and the more of these guys we pick up, the easier it is to convince free agents that New Orleans is the destination of choice. Besides, all these guys—even man-mountain Jenkins—are flexible enough to play anywhere on the line in either a 3-4 or 4-3, so this lineup gives maximum value. It is also, once again, Travis’ lineup. Which brings us to…
Curtis Lofton, David Hawthorne, Martez Wilson, Junior Galette, Ramon Humber, Parys Haralson, Kevin Reddick, Rufus Johnson. My second major point of disagreement with Travis. Ten linebackers? That gives you backups to backups. We don’t need that many when only 4 will be on the field at any one time. Hawthorne, in a crisis, can play outside, which gives us potentially five outside linebackers, and actually four inside backers, and that’s plenty. It also allows us to load up on tight ends.
You may notice who isn’t on the roster: Jonathan Vilma. Unless he can prove in the next day that he’s going to be ready to play week one, he goes to injured reserve. It will make me sad to see it end this way, especially considering that he was the genuinely unsung hero of the Super Bowl season (I have yet to meet anyone else who sees it that way…at least, to the extent that I do. There were two players without whom we would not have won a championship. One was Drew Brees, and the other was Jonathan Vilma.)
Jabari Greer, Patrick Robinson, Keenan Lewis, Corey White, Chris Carr, Rod Sweeting. Dang, Travis. You must have my computer bugged. Intercepting my emails with Sean and Mickey. I’m thinking of taking legal action. This group is actually stronger than it may seem, because not only can Malcolm Jenkins play fourth cornerback if necessary, but there’s someone else who’s going to see a lot of action in what would be a nickel formation for most teams.
Kenny Vaccaro, Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Rafael Bush, Isa Abdul-Quddus. Gentlemen, I give you the man who will make or break the Saints’ season defensively: rookie Kenny Vaccaro. He’s going to be used in a lot of different roles: safety, nickel back, fifth linebacker, wild card. Vaccaro’s going to be all over the field, and by the end of the year he’s going to be one of the few defensive players that coordinators have to account for in their game plans, and quarterbacks have to account for on every play. The rest of the unit should be solid enough to hold together. Maybe Rob Ryan would rather have his guy Jim Leonard than Abdul-Quddus, and that would be cool.
Garrett Hartley, Thomas Morstead, Justin Drescher. Because, who else?
So, there you have it. Now I gotta run…custom post types are calling me.