The New Orleans Saints, who have been missing offensive coaches all week, will be missing several defensive players on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. While a couple of players were not expected to play this weekend, there were some major surprises throughout the week.
Saints injury report: pic.twitter.com/CPiXHfMU9o— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) September 17, 2021
Both center Erik McCoy and edge rusher Marcus Davenport are expected to miss multiple weeks with injuries sustained against the Green Bay Packers last weekend. Davenport has already been moved to injured reserve, meaning he’ll be out for the next three weeks at least. McCoy is a candidate for IR as well, as he is likely to miss the next few weeks as well.
Meanwhile, linebacker Kwon Alexander, who had a miraculous recovery from an achilles injury from last year’s Christmas game, has also been moved to the reserve list with his knee injury.
The Saints have placed LB Kwon Alexander and DE Marcus Davenport on IR. Both are now out at least 3 games.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) September 17, 2021
Alexander is a big loss for the Saints against an athletic offense in Carolina led by running back Christian McCaffrey. His return to the Saints at the top of 2021 was felt immediately. He made two big plays in the opening drive against the Packers, showing the impact he has on this Saints defense. Unfortunately, without Alexander, the Saints will also be down rookie Pete Werner and former UDFA gem Chase Hansen who will both be out for Sunday’s game.
That means the WILL linebacker spot not only falls to second-year linebacker Zack Baun, but depth could be a concern as well.
Despite all of this bad news, there are some potential silver linings on this list. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore finished up his contest last week with several stellar plays, a new contract, and a cast after a bone chip in his right thumb. That injury required surgery earlier this week, but somehow Lattimore is still listed as questionable going into the weekend. Secondary partner C.J. Gardner-Johnson is also questionable.
Losing those two key players this weekend going up against a talented and athletic receiving corps is less than ideal to say the least. Having one or the other would bring an immense sense of relief to the unit.
Along with the two star corners, defensive lineman Tanoh Kpassagnon and safety P.J. Williams will also be questionable. Kpassagnon stepped in for Davenport in Week 1 after he exited with injury and performed well. He was able to get into the backfield for a strip-sack on Jordan Love, forcing the team’s second redzone takeaway. However, he did not participate in practice all week.
Williams could be a necessary commodity depending upon the status of Gardner-Johnson. Before Williams moved to safety, he was the Saints’ top nickel corner option. He could reprise his role if the Saints would rather have rookie Paulson Adebo and newly acquired Bradley Roby on the outside. Though Roby has an extensive resume of success in the slot, and free agent addition Desmond Trufant saw some time last week while Lattimore was out.
On the Panthers’ side, it will be worth keeping an eye on the trenches. Taylor Moton and DaQuan Jones are both listed without an game designation meaning they’re expected to play. But their injuries could mean they are not at 100% while doing so. That could spell good news for Cameron Jordan on the defensive side and the Saints’ interior offensive line who may be shuffled about again this week as well.
No one handles adversity like Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints. These injuries compounded with not having key offensive assistants/position coaches throughout the week only raises the bar for a team that continues to show up when their backs are against the wall. Can they do it again against the division rival Carolina Panthers?