Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
NEW ORLEANS – The Saints had seven offensive linemen active in Sunday’s 40-33 win over Houston in the Superdome.
They needed every one of them.
Center Olin Kreutz and right tackle Zach Strief left the game with injuries, Strief’s appearing more serious than Kreutz’s.
The offensive line wasn’t alone in getting hit hard, however. Linebackers Martez Wilson and Will Herring left the game in the first quarter with undisclosed injuries.
This after New Orleans began the game without linebacker Jonathan Vilma.
Still, Strief’s is the one to keep an eye on.
Saints coach Sean Payton didn’t disclose what any of the injuries were after the game, but Strief gingerly walked off the field, hardly able to bear any pressure on his right leg, with 13:35 to go in the third quarter. He eventually was carted into the locker room.
Charles Brown took Strief’s place and finished the game.
Kreutz, meanwhile, left the game after the Saints’ second offensive series. His left knee was wrapped and re-braced, but he never returned. Backup Brian de la Puente played for him the rest of the game.
If another lineman would have gone done, the Saints would have had a problem.
“I try not to think about that,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “I was hoping that wasn’t going to happen.”
Meanwhile, Wilson started his first game ever, putting pressure on Houston’s Matt Schaub early. But he left the game with 1:19 to play in the first quarter and didn’t return.
Herring didn’t play after the first quarter, either, and the Saints went three quarters with just Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Jonathan Casillas and Scott Shanle to use at linebacker.