The New Orleans Saints returned to the practice field today after simulating the practice report for Wednesday. Several players returned Wednesday afternoon from the COVID/Reserve list. Two of which were present on the injury report Thursday afternoon, but as WWL’s Jeff Nowak notes, nothing of concern there. What is of concern? The Saints continuing struggles to field a consistent offensive line.
I guess the good news is: None of the 11 Saints players that came back from the COVID list are also hurt— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) December 30, 2021
Carl Granderson and Taysom Hill are the only two added to the injury report today. One for rest and one for the finger injury we already knew about. pic.twitter.com/YAczdatrH3
As Terron Armstead remains DNP for the second day in a row (though the first was estimated), Sants center Erik McCoy was added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list. That means the Saints will likely be looking at Will Clapp anchoring the line this week and that RG Cesar Ruiz could very well be the only starting offensive lineman available for New Orleans.
The Saints may end up getting lucky here with pass rushers Brian Burns and Hasaan Reddick on the reserve list for the Carolina Panthers as well.
The only meaningful addition to the Saints practice report is WR/RB Ty Montgomery who did not participate with a back injury. Last season, Montgomery ran for over 100 yards agains the Carolina Panthers in an end-of-season game. But the Saints (presently) have a healthy running back stable around him.
Carolina is weakening more and more on defense with Sephon Gilmore not expected to play on Sunday per head coach Matt Rhule. Saints WR Tre’Quan Smith isn’t trending toward playing, but the team hopes to have Deonte Harris back off of the COVID list after serving his three-game suspension.
The Saints have played the third most unique lineups on offense in the NFL (435) with an NFL record 57 total starters. That number could well go up if Will Clapp is indeed Sunday’s starting center. New Orleans also has the third lowest percentage logged for it’s most common offensive line up at a mere 2.16%
The Saints are no stranger to battling unavailability and injury. It looks like they’ll do so again on Sunday, but at least they’ve got key pieces back after having over 20 players out on Monday Night Football.
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