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What's Up With Jahri Evans?

After two games, the Saints' four time All-Pro guard, Jahri Evans, has not looked nearly as dominant as years past.

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Jahri Evans' play has not been up to par so far this season.
Jahri Evans' play has not been up to par so far this season.

After earning his fourth consecutive All-Pro honors in 2012, Jahri Evans has not looked the same after the first two games of the 2013 season. Sure, the offensive line has struggled as a whole, but Evans' struggles are made even more apparent due to his consistent string of dominance in previous years.

At first I was getting a bit worried that maybe the perennial All-Pro guard was just in a decline, but report surfaced yesterday that Evans missed his second consecutive practice due to a hamstring injury. While an injury to a player of Evans' caliber would clearly be detrimental to the Saints' success, it would at least explain the decline in performance in the games against the Falcons and Buccaneers.

As stated in this refocused article, Evans was abused by the Falcon's interior line. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed two pressures on Drew Brees and received a horrendous -3.9 grade as a run blocker (not to mention his two costly holding penalties). Against the Buccaneers Evans continued to struggle, allowing three pressures on Brees and improving his run blocking grade to -0.4.

For comparison's sake, here's a table to display the discrepancy in Evans' performance from the first two games of 2012 to 2013:

Through First Two Games
2012 2013
Overall Grade +6.2 -5.5
Run Block Grade +3.2 -4.3
QB Pressures 2 5

Hopefully the injury is minor and resting this week was conducive to getting Evans back to form. The Saints' running game has been pitiful, and Evans' play has certainly contributed to that. If the Saints want to get some balance going on offense to replicate the success they had in 2009 and 2011, a healthy Jahri Evans will be an integral part of that.

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