The New Orleans Saints continue moving through this week with a lengthy injury report as they head into their weekend action in Charlotte with the Carolina Panthers. Thankfully, some players were upgraded, but there are still a couple important injuries to watch closely.
New Orleans Saints
Couple changes to the injury report from yesterday:— Amie Just (@Amie_Just) September 16, 2021
C.J. Gardner-Johnson (knee) was downgraded from LP to DNP
Marshon Lattimore (thumb) was upgraded from DNP to LP
P.J. Williams (back) was upgraded from DNP to LP
Chase Hansen (groin) was downgraded from LP to DNP pic.twitter.com/XEsjHAadh2
The good news for the Saints is that Marshon Lattimore was elevated from DNP to limited on Thursday. This is following sustaining a thumb injury that required surgery. The initial expectation for the newly paid CB is that he’d be considered week-to-week. Meaning he could be a gametime decision this week depending on how well the rest of the practices go. If he’s not able to go, Paulson Adebo showed out last week against the Green Bay Packers and Bradley Roby is now available after serving his one=game suspension to open the season.
Even with that god news, the cornerback position has been a challenge for the Saints. Not due to lack of talent, especially after a standout performance from rookie corner Paulson Adebo last week. But instead because of health and availability. Ken Crawley and Brian Poole are on injured reserve, Patrick Robinson retired, Marshon Lattimore’s injury and now more injuries continue to pop up.
The Saints’ star slot corner C.J. Gardner-Johnson was downgraded from limited to DNP with a knee injury. If Gardner-Johnson is unable to go on Sunday, the Saints options vary depending on Marshon Lattimore’s availability.
If Lattimore is able to go, the Saints could use either Roby or Adebo in the slot. Roby has a reputation as a disruptive slot defender when called upon. (Played over 35% of his 2014 and 2018 seasons inside.) Meanwhile, the Saints gave Adebo work on the inside during camp. If those two are needed on the outside, the upgraded P.J. Williams becomes an option in the slot. A role he once held before New Orleans liked what they saw from him as a safety. Jeff Heath was added back to the active roster this week, so the Saints have the bodies to shuffle in the secondary if needed.
It was easy to forget by the end of a 38-3 win ... but this two-play sequence by Kwon Alexander on the Packers' opening drive— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) September 16, 2021
Crossing concept works. Kwon gets hung up in traffic, but takes a perfect angle and gets there in plenty of time. Impressive. #Saints pic.twitter.com/gXEQ0979u4
Another key injury to watch for New Orleans will be Kwon Alexander. The linebacker had a miraculous (or should I say “legendary?”) recover from the achilles injury he suffered last season. However now he’s on the injury report missing two days of practice with a knee injury. Something to continue to watch. Alexander was impactful Sunday against the Packers, with the speed Carolina has on offense, his services may be required. Though Zack Baun looked ready during the preseason.
Tanoh Kpassagnon looked good stepping in for Marcus Davenport last week, but he also played quite a bit inside. He’s valuable veteran depth with experience inside and out. A versatile piece to lose if he’s not able to go as well. The door is open for first-round pick Payton Turner to play some substantial snaps in Week 2.
Panthers RT Taylor Moton added to the injury report with a groin injury. pic.twitter.com/vGxdyGlo3N— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) September 16, 2021
Carolina’s list is mostly clean with two offensive lineman upgrading to full participation. But OT Taylor Moton, who signed a new deal this offseason soon after Saints’ start Ryan Ramczyk, was added to the list. This is a key matchup to watch already between Moton and edge defender Cameron Jordan. Now, the intrigue grows as the Saints look to put pressure on newly acquired Sam Darnold.
Last week against the Jets, Darnold didn’t feel much heat. But when he did, his completion percentage dropped from 75% to 54.5%. Last season, the former USC standout had a passer rating of only 55.6 when under pressure. Will be key for the Saints to keep the block hot.