So far, this season has been more of the same for the New Orleans Saints defense. A lot of yards given up and a lot of touchdowns surrendered is what we witnessed at the beginning of the season. We have seen flashes of improvement over the past couple of weeks, but the issues still remain. Lots of this has to do with all the injuries the Saints have had on defense. Some 14 players who we expected to see on the defense this season has missed at least one game. That’s pretty unfair for any team, but especially for a team trying to find their way on defense after two years of struggling.
But the good news is that the defense is getting healthier. Sterling Moore should be back soon after missing the last couple of game with an abdomen injury which required surgery, but most importantly the Saints might get Delvin Breaux and Sheldon Rankins back as early as this Sunday, arguably the two guys they have missed the most all season.
Rankins, who was drafted to solve the Saints’ issues on the defensive line has yet to play in his first regular season game because of a broken fibula he suffered in training camp practice. When Rankins returns, it could help take the defense in the right direction and get some of the consistent pressure they have been lacking all season.
Breaux could also return after also going down with a broken fibula in Week 1 against the Raiders. Breaux, who proved to be one of the best young cornerbacks last season, says he is good to go and he is just waiting for the go ahead from the coaches.
Getting these two guys back will be key for the Saints as they try to keep up the momentum from the Seattle game, but the Saints might consider easing them into the starting lineup. Returning from a big injury is not easy and especially not when you haven’t really played any regular season football all season.
That’s why this might be the perfect time for the two to come back. The Saints are set to face the San Fransisco 49ers on Sunday, who have improved throughout the season, but still might be the weakest team on the 2016 schedule. Chip Kelly and his squad are 1-6 this season and are on a six-game losing streak after destroying the Rams 28-0 in their opening game.
This game might leave a little bit more room for errors from the Saints and it could be the perfect opportunity to bring Breaux and Rankins, if they are ready, into the starting lineup. It could help them build some chemistry with the rest of the defense and also help them get a feel for the game after being out for quite a while.
We still don’t know if Rankins and/or Breaux will be playing this Sunday, but this might just be the right time to bring them into the lineup if they are ready.