With the season now in the rearview mirror – though some would say not far enough behind with wounds still open – we believe at WWLTV.com it’s time to hit on our yearly “roster check,” our assessment of who could or could not be with the club come training camp in July.
We don’t think this will help close the wound that the playoff game opened. It might, in fact, open it more and for that we apologize.
For the next few work week days, we’ll go position group by position group (secondary, linebackers, defensive line, offensive line and skill players) and give our opinions on the players and situations.
Cornerbacks: Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Patrick Robinson, Johnny Patrick, Leigh Torrence
Safeties: Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, Isa Abdul-Quddus, Jonathan Amaya
Greer: He’s in the final year of the four-year contract he signed prior to the 2009 season. And, really, do I need to go any further? He’ll be back in 2012. Greer was the team’s steadiest defensive back overall in 2011. He was fifth in tackles with 83 and was by far the leader in passes defensed with 23. He had an interception, as well. But, most importantly, he was the man who basically shut down whoever he went against. It was the rare big completion against him who stood out.
Porter: Now this one is interesting. Despite playing in two fewer games than a full season, he finished seventh on the team in tackles with 63. He had one interception and eight passes defensed while forcing two fumbles and recovering another. But he’s injury prone. He missed four games in 2010 with a knee injury, four games in 2009 with a knee injury and the final 11 games of 2008 with a dislocated thumb. We suspect he’d like to be back, but he’ll want more money than the Saints might be willing to offer with two young cornerbacks ready to play. We can see him ending up in St. Louis with Gregg Williams but probably not with the Saints.
Robinson: When the Saints drafted Robinson with their first pick in 2010 draft, there was question as to need. In 2011, he proved he was worth the pick. Robinson showed drastic improvement in his second season and while he wasn’t perfect, he proved to be their most-athletic defensive back. Robinson was second on the team with 14 passes defensed and led the team with four interceptions. He’ll be back.
Patrick: This guy will be entering his second season and by the latter half of 2011, was on the game-day active roster playing mostly special teams. His speed stands out. Hard to make a judgment on a rookie. He’ll likely return for his second season.
Torrence: Torrence is one of those veterans who held on longer than most likely thought he would. He came to New Orleans as a Gregg Williams guy and he’ll leave the Crescent City as a Gregg Williams guy. He was inactive in five of the final six games of the season. We don't see him being with the team in 2012.
Harper: His 7½ sacks in 2011 were the second-most ever for a safety in NFL history and his 17 career sacks since he entered the league in 2006 is the most. His cover skills improved this season and, despite popular opinion, the Vernon Davis touchdown in the NFC divisional game wasn’t completely his fault. Harper signed a new four-year, $25 million contract prior to last season. He’ll be back.
Jenkins: The Saints’ first-round pick in 2009 hit a plateau this past season, partly because of where he was forced to play from – nearly 20 yards deep behind the line. Still, he was second on the team in tackles (97) and third in passes defensed with 11. He’s among the team’s most consistent players and is a locker room leader. He also has a few years left on his contract. Jenkins will return.
Abdul-Quddus: This undrafted rookie free agent began to bloom in the second-half of the 2011 season. He was more trusted and when the Saints needed to move Jenkins somewhere else, Abdul-Quddus was put in at free safety. His most memorable play was his plastering of a Giants receiver but he did so much more. He was second on the team with 11 special teams tackles and forced two fumbles. He’s cheap. He’s athletic. He’s smart. Abdul-Quddus should be back.
Amaya: Amaya came to New Orleans, along with a swapped sixth-round pick, in the trade that sent Reggie Bush to Miami. He was the other guy in the trade. Known as a special teams specialist, Amaya was largely relegated to special teams. He saw mop up time in regular action mostly. He’s an exclusive rights free agent, one I can see remaining with the Saints because of special teams.
7 of 9 remain with the Saints