- Mike Triplett, ESPN Staff Writer
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METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints receiver Lance Moore is officially listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins. But his chances of playing appear slim after he did not practice all week with a hand injury.
Eight others are listed as questionable. But the three players in the most jeopardy of missing the game are Moore, tailback Mark Ingram (toe) and defensive end Tom Johnson (hamstring) after they missed practice all week.
The others listed as questionable were able to practice on a limited basis this week – guards Jahri Evans (hamstring) and Tim Lelito (calf), defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker (knee), cornerback Chris Carr (knee) and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle).
Evans – easily the most important player on the list – insisted this week that he’ll return to the lineup against the Dolphins after missing last Sunday’s game.
Moore will certainly be missed if he can’t play. But the Saints do have several other options they can turn to in the passing game. Obviously they’ll rely heavily on tight end Jimmy Graham, receiver Marques Colston and running back Darren Sproles, as always. Others who could see increased targets include receivers Kenny Stills, Robert Meachem and Nick Toon and tight end Benjamin Watson.
Stills might be the biggest beneficiary. The rookie fifth-round draft pick was a breakout player for the Saints in the preseason, but he’s played a limited role so far in the regular season with just three catches for 96 yards and no touchdowns.
“If [Moore] is not playing, then obviously somebody’s going to have to step up. And hopefully they trust me enough to get in there and make some plays,” said Stills, who said he has tried to prepare every week and every play like the ball’s coming his way.
That attribute has been very important to the various Saints receivers in this deep offense over the years. The ball gets spread around quite a bit, so players need to stay both patient and focused.
Stills said he’s heard that from several people, but Meachem in particular. In the past, Meachem admitted that was something he had to get used to as a first-round draft pick out of Tennessee. Now, Meachem is the wise veteran giving advice to young teammates.
“It’s something that all the guys talk about. But Meach, for sure, has always mentioned that to me,” Stills said. “‘Don’t worry about it, don’t stress about how many targets you’re getting, how many catches you’re getting. It’s a week-to-week thing in this offense, and your time will come.’”
4hEric D. Williams