Kristian: Best Training camp battles to watch in 2013 for the Saints
Kristian@wwl.com - The Saints report for training camp 2013 in just a couple of weeks. There are plenty of positions that entrenched starters and established veterans will hold down. However, here are a few position battles to keep an eye on.
Left tackle: Jermon Bushrod is no longer protecting Drew Brees’ blind side, bolting to Chicago in the offseason for a big pay day with the Bears. It’s a three man race at this point with returning veteran Charles Brown in the lead at the moment. The Saints took a flyer on former 2nd overall pick Jason Smith in the offseason to add to competition. In April, the Saints drafted Terron Armstead out of Arkansas Pine-Bluff to compete with the two veterans. It appears to be Brown’s job to lose at this point, but the position is far from settled. Since coming to New Orleans in 2010 as a second round pick, Brown has been largely inconsistent and often injured. Smith is exactly the kind of player the Saints have ''hit'' on in rescent years. Can he resurrect his career in New Orleans? Armstead is the tackle of the future, but is more than likely a year away from taking over full time. The coaches love the athleticism the rookie brings to the position.
Backup quarterback: When you don’t have to talk about the starter at Quarterback that’s a good thing. Drew Brees is among the best in the business, and in most camps the battle for the starting quarterback spot is the most talked about battle in camp. That’s not the case in New Orleans. Last year’s understudy Chase Daniel left in free agency to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Saints brought in veterans Luke McCown and Seneca Wallace. Also in the mix is rookie quarterback Ryan Griffin, but he’s more of a project developemental player. Griffin is likely destined for the practice squad his first season. Wallace and McCown will battle it out to become the No. 2 behind Brees. Who would you be more comfortable with if (GASP) something should happen to Brees? I think Wallace will end up winning the job over McCown. From what I’ve seen, Wallace has better accuracy and fits Sean Payton’s offense. McCown has to have a strong preseason and training camp to move past Wallace at this point.
Wide receiver: This might be the best battle to watch in camp. Veterans Marques Colston and Lance Moore are entrenched at the position, but with Devery Henderson no longer on the roster, the depth behind Colston and Moore is unproven, with tremendous youth and upside. Third-year man Joe Morgan is the intriguing deep threat in this offense, but sometimes disappeared in action last year. Morgan also didn’t help his case with an off-season DWI arrest. The fourth and fifth receiver spots come down to a few players: Nick Toon, rookie Kenny Stills, Courtney Roby, and Chris Givens. Oh, and how can I forget Andy Tanner? The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebet calls Tanner "a poor man's version" of Lance Moore: "He catches everything, he runs good routes, and he could make a hand ful of rosters around the league."
The entire defense: That’s right; the entire defense is a competition at this point. With Rob Ryan taking over as the Defensive Coordinator this season, nothing is promised to a group of players that finished at or near the bottom in just about every statistical category a year ago. Ryan will have to be creative trying to bring pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season, and he might rely on a number of different defensive combinations to do so. Just about every position is up for grabs on the Saints defense, at least so it appears. The coaches refused to allow a depth chart to be established in spring workouts and OTA’s.
Tags : Topics : SportsSocial : SportsLocations : Chicago, Kansas City, New OrleansPeople : Andy Tanner, Charles Brown, Chase Daniel, Chris Givens, Courtney Roby, Devery Henderson, Drew Brees, Jason Smith, Jermon Bushrod, Joe Morgan, Kenny Stills, Lance Moore, Luke McCown, Marques Colston, Nick Toon, Rob Ryan, Ryan Griffin, Sean Payton, Seneca Wallace, Terron Armstead