Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports
With the Super Bowl set for Sunday, we thought it'd be a good time to look at the roster the Saints ended the season with and give our two cents into what players should stick around and which players should go.
You know, because this is the end of the NFL season. Also, fans continue to clamor for information and opinion on the Saints.
So, this week, we'll go by position groups (secondary, linebackers, defensive line, offensive line, receivers, running backs and tight ends/quarterbacks) daily and give our beliefs on who should return and who shouldn't.
It should be noted that this is all with the assumption that A) the collective bargaining agreement, or lack thereof, doesn't kill the 2011 season and B) a new CBA doesn't drastically alter roster or free agency rules.
WEDNESDAY: Defensive Line
THURSDAY: Offensive Line
MONDAY: Running Backs
TUESDAY: Tight Ends/Quarterbacks
Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem, Adrian Arrington
Colston is signed through this season and really, is there any question about his role on this list? We don't think so. He played in 16 games, missing only the regular season finale when he was inactive because of a surgery to clean up his knee. He had three 100-yard receiving days, finished with seven touchdown catches in the final 10 games and ended the season with 1,023 yards and 84 catches. So yeah. No reason for him not to stick around. Colston will return.
Henderson finished the regular season with just one touchdown and that came in the opening game against Minnesota when he had just two catches. As the team's 'long-ball threat,' he never really panned into that this season. His longest catch was 57 yards with a 39-yarder being the next longest. He had a good playoff game against Seattle, finishing with 77 yards and score on seven catches. But we're not sure the long-term viability for Henderson in New Orleans, where he is signed through the 2012 season. We don't think Henderson returns as a Saint.
Moore is a free agent and fans are clamoring for him to sign a long-term contract in New Orleans. We don't blame them. Moore was first on the team with eight touchdowns this season and second with 763 yards receiving. He's the most sure-handed receiver the team had this past year. Though he was injured for much of the 2009 season, he proved to be a go-to caliber receiver in 2008 when he caught 79 passes for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's important. At least we think so. We also think he'll be back in the black and gold.
Meachem never looked completely healed from offseason toe surgery, yet he still finished with 638 yards on 44 catches with five touchdowns. He has one year left on his contract, but with 14 touchdowns and nearly 1,400 yards receiving over the past two seasons, he appears to be a guy developing into a receiver the coaching staff can fully utilize. He played in all 17 games this season and had a team-leading 14.5 yard-per-catch average for those with 30 or more receptions. He'll return this fall.
Arrington was a moved up to from the practice squad in each of the past two seasons so we're a little clouded on our Magic 8-Ball vision of what to do with Arrington. Does he have the talent? Yes. But the question is why hasn't he already moved up? Well, for one, there hasn't been room with Colston, Meachem, Moore and Henderson. If Henderson doesn't stick around, though, it opens a spot. In his one game when he was active on game day, he finished with seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. He caught a 42-yard pass the first time he was thrown to. We see him sticking around, becoming the team's deep threat.
Roby ended the season on Injured Reserve after suffering a pretty serious concussion in the Saints' home game against the Rams. He was the team's main kick returner, but never had one longer than 39 yards (vs. Atlanta, vs. Pittsburgh). His 23.8 yard per return average was 18th in the NFL and the Saints were 27th in the NFL on kick return this season. As well-liked as Roby is inside the locker room, that hasn't translated onto the field. He's an outstanding special teams player and while we know what he does on punt team is big, he's on the team as a returner and isn't cutting it. We don't see him back in our crystal ball.