NFC South: Reggie Jones
We’ll summarize the moves first and then we’ll analyze them. The Saints signed running back Julius Jones and safety Matt Giordano while releasing kicker John Carney and waiving running back DeShawn Wynn.
The Jones signing easily is the biggest of the moves. The Saints have struggled with running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush sidelined in recent weeks. They’ve been using veteran Ladell Betts and rookie Chris Ivory, but haven’t gotten a lot of production. Jones is a veteran and is in his seventh season. He played for the Cowboys from 2004 to 2007, before landing with Seattle. Jones has started 75 of his career 85 games and rushed for 4,875 yards and 22 touchdowns on 1,232 carries. He’s the kind of player who could move ahead of Betts and Ivory very quickly and still fill a role when Bush and Thomas return.
The release of Carney is a sign the Saints are ready to turn their kicking duties back to Garrett Hartley. The Saints signed Carney, 46, after Hartley missed an easy field-goal attempt in an overtime loss to Atlanta. The Saints said they were bringing in Carney to help Hartley get his accuracy back.
Giordano also fills a need at a spot where injuries have been prevalent. Safeties Roman Harper and Pierson Prioleau have missed time with injuries and Chris Reis is out for the season. A sixth-year player, Giordano has spent time with the Colts and Packers and was in Atlanta’s training camp this year. He’s played only sparingly in the secondary, but has played extensively on special teams, which means he could fill Reis’ role.
The Saints also tweaked their practice squad a bit. They signed cornerback Reggie Jones, who was with the team previously, and released linebacker Harry Coleman.
This season, they ended with 15 players on injured reserve, and some of those guys were significant players.
Here’s the complete list of Saints on injured reserve with comments about the more significant ones.
- FB Heath Evans: This actually might have been the most significant injury the Saints suffered. Evans was a jack-of-all-trades and a perfect fit in this offense. Without him, the Saints have had to scramble because they did not have another proven fullback. They’ve had to throw some guys in there as well as line their tight ends up in the backfield at times.
- TE Dan Campbell and TE Billy Miller: These guys also could have helped the fullback situation. They were both good blockers to go along with Jeremy Shockey, who is used mostly as a pass catcher. The Saints did pick up David Thomas and he’s done a nice role filling in.
- DE Charles Grant: He didn’t get hurt until the end of the regular season, so we won’t know the full impact until the Saints hit the field again. Backup Bobby McCray might get some time at end on passing downs. McCray is at least as good a pass rusher as Grant and Anthony Hargrove, who also plays inside.
- LT Jammal Brown: It’s pretty amazing the Saints won 13 games when they didn’t have their Pro Bowl left tackle for any of them. Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief have alternated at the position. They’ve had some ups and downs, but the coaching staff has done an excellent job of putting help near them.
- DT Kendrick Clancy: This veteran was kind of an unsung hero. Losing him hurt, but players like Hargrove have done a nice job filling in.
- FB Marcus Mailei
- WR Rod Harper
- WR D’Juan Woods
- LB Mark Simoneau
- LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar
- LB Stanley Arnoux
- CB Leigh Torrence
- CB Reggie Jones
- S Chip Vaughn
A lot of the names leaked previously, but the Saints just officially announced the signings of 10 undrafted free agents. Here they are:
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas, quarterback Patrick Cowan, offensive linemen Cedrick Dockery, Alex Fletcher and Sam McNaulty, running back P.J. Hill, cornerbacks Danny Gorer and Reggie Jones, receiver Kenneth Harris and defensive end Jermey Parnell.
Western Illinois running back Herb Donaldson doesn't appear on the list, but the Saints previously announced he had agreed to contract terms.