Kristian@wwl.com - As the Saints get set to open the 2012 pre-season against the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Fame game on Sunday there are a couple of areas you should be watching. Injuries have forced the Saints hand at cornerback, but none the less it gives them an early look at who’s competing for certain spots on the roster.
Secondary: With Jabari Greer (groin) and Patrick Robinson (shoulder) out of the game because of injury, it gives some of the younger guys a chance to impress with what should be plenty of snaps. Right now, second year man Johnny Patrick appears to have the inside track on the “nickel-back” position. He’s made 3 interceptions in training camp so far and seems to have a nose for the football. Third-year man Marquis Johnson has played well with increased reps in practice, and could end up being a solid addition to the team. Also in the mix are rookies A.J Davis, and Laron Scott.
Wide receiver: We know Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, and Lance Moore have the first three spots at wide receiver locked down. Adrian Arrington has had his best camp of his 4-year career, and seems like the guy that’s ready to take over for the departed Robert Meachem. Arrington’s talent has never been the question; it’s his ability to stay healthy that has been his biggest obstacle. Will A.A. dazzle in the pre-season again? WR Joe Morgan is so intriguing…he’s got great speed and catches the ball well. He’ll be playing in a familiar setting, hailing from Canton and playing little league, middle school, High school, and College ball in Fawcett stadium. Rookie Nick Toon is out with a foot injury.
3rd quarterback: I know it’s hard to get excited about a position battle when in large part the player will be inactive for most if not all of the regular season games. However, it’s an interesting battle to watch between QB Sean Canfield (3rd season) and veteran Luke McCown. The Saints want to push Canfield a bit, but at the same time are always trying to improve their roster. McCown's experience (9 years) should give him the advantage over Canfield. Plus, I think they are taking a hard look of McCown to see if he can be the backup QB next season when and if Chase Daniel leaves for a starting opportunity with another team.
I would think the coaches would have to take in consideration Arrington's health issues. He might be a good trade for a player or draft pick. I would like to see Joe Morgan and Nick Toon make it. I think they have the potential for the greatest improvement. You certainly do not want to loose a good player on the practice squad to some other team.
AA is more polished and can play all the positions
Past health doesn't necessarily predict the future
preseason means nothing, the team already has their starters so these games don't matter