NFC South: Rod Harper

Saints have weathered injuries

January, 11, 2010
1/11/10
5:40
PM ET
One of the things the New Orleans Saints did best this season was overcome injuries. That’s a huge improvement from 2008, when injuries were largely responsible for keeping the Saints out of the playoffs.

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

Around the NFC South

September, 1, 2009
9/01/09
9:43
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

Time for a quick trip through the morning's NFC South headlines.

D. Orlando Ledbetter wonders if it’s time for the Falcons to bring back safety Lawyer Milloy. The secondary, really the whole defense, hasn’t looked sharp in the preseason. That goes with the territory when you’ve got five new starters on defense. I wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to personnel moves and I think you could see the Falcons pluck a defensive back off waivers. But I think bringing back Milloy is a long shot. The Falcons let him (along with Keith Brooking and Grady Jackson) go because they wanted to get younger on defense. Even with the preseason struggles, I’m not sure they suddenly want to get old again.

Atlanta receiver Roddy White might not have endeared himself to fans with his training-camp holdout, which resulted in a massive new contract. But here’s something to cushion the blow. The Falcons just announced that White will be speaking to the football team at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta on Tuesday. He’s also buying new cleats for the team. He did the same thing for his old high school, James Island Charter School in Charleston, S.C.

Mike Triplett projects the 53-man roster for the Saints. He’s got Courtney Roby and Rod Harper as the fifth and sixth receivers in one close battle, but he’s cutting linebacker Jonathan Casillas in another one.

Former Saints running back Deuce McAllister is being sued for $750,000 in unpaid loans. McAllister said the debt stems from his failed car dealership.

Carolina cornerback Chris Gamble admitted what was obvious to anyone who watched Saturday night. He had a bad game against Baltimore. But Gamble says the mistakes will be corrected.

The Bucs have told injured kicker Matt Bryant he needs to practice and play this week if he’s going to have any chance at beating out Mike Nugent. But Bryant said his hamstring isn’t fully healed and he’s not sure returning this week is the best long-term move for his career.

Martin Fennelly has a nice look at how Tampa Bay running back Derrick Ward rose up out of tough circumstances in South Central Los Angeles. He also reveals that Reggie Bush isn’t the only NFC South running back keeping up with the Kardashians.

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