Welcome back, Who Dat Nation! Today we review the Week 2 performances of the New Orleans Saints 2014 rookie class. While the Saints made their move in the direction of youth when building the roster, they have yet to suit up many rookies on game day. The few that make it onto the game day roster have performed well which leaves hope for a bright future in New Orleans. As with most sports, after a loss it is easy to be overly critical in evaluations, so my goal is to avoid over analyzing their flaws.
Currently on the active 53-man roster:
WR, Brandin Cooks - After an explosive and exciting week 1, Cooks cooled off in Cleveland. Brees targeted him a healthy amount of times, but they only connected on three of them. It is clear that Sean Payton wants to get Cooks touches in any way possible, so he saw two carries and opportunities to return punts. His run game contribution was substantial, but his return duties were less than favorable.
Season Stats: 10 rec, 94 yards, 1 TD; 3 car 49 yards
CB, Brian Dixon - Believe it or not, Dixon was on the active roster against the Browns. His brief appearance netted one solo tackle. He was not present in coverage on any plays and saw 15 special teams snaps only. With the trouble being experienced with starting CB Patrick Robinson, Dixon may find himself on the field more often beginning this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Season Stats: 1 Solo tackle
OLB, Kasim Edebali - Edebali has worked his way into the lineup as a rotational player by grabbing 5 defensive snaps. While he hasn't recorded any stats, he looks busy and physical at the point of attack. His arsenal seems to be missing a move that will get him free to cause some havoc, a nice spin or swim would suit his speed well. It would be wise for him to find a way to take advantage of being lined up opposite Cameron Jordan and drawing 1-on-1 match-ups. He also contributed on 26 special teams plays.
Season Stats: No stats accrued
CB, Stanley Jean-Baptiste - SJB is another young CB who may be called upon sooner rather than later. It is obvious to even casual observers that PRob is struggling badly and may soon fall out of favor with the coaches. This will present the chance for SJB to get a few starts at #2 CB or possibly in the slot with Corey White getting his chance to start opposite Keenan Lewis. There is the strong possibility that SJB or Dixon could be the primary slot CB by week 4.
Season Stats: DNP
OLB, Ronald Powell - Powell suited up for his second NFL game and participated in 21 special teams plays. Without opportunities on actual defensive snaps, his chances to shine will be limited. I have a theory that if Rob Ryan starts to focus more on coverage, the young athletic LBs on the roster will see more paying time.
Season Stats: No Stats
S, Vinnie Sunseri - Sunseri was active on game day and did his part on special teams, participating in 21 plays. With 3 very good, and expensive, safeties ahead of him, Sunseri will only see the field in some exotic 4 safety package or due to injury.
Season Stats: 2 tackles = 1 solo, 1 assisted
WR - Brandon Coleman, TE - Nic Jacobs, WR - Seantavius Jones, T - Tavon Rooks, NT - Lawrence Virgil, S - Pierre Warren - Were all inactive but remained signed to the practice squad. With concerns at CB and a possible, though not probable, return of Champ Bailey, could one of these players be released to make room for his return?
LB - Khairi Fortt, S - Ty Zimmerman - Both players are still on injured reserve with Fortt designated to return.
That wraps up week two's Rookie Run-Down Who Dat family, hope you enjoyed! Let's all hope and believe that next week's edition will include glowing reviews of outstanding rookie performances, much like last years crop of rookeis who exceeded expectations. Until then, be cool Who Dats!