Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:Tracy Porter
Posted on: February 11, 2012 12:26 pm
 

Routt drawing interest on free agent market

According to his agent, a number of teams already have shown interest in Routt.  (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Though the Raiders obviously had no interest in paying cornerback Stanford Routt the remainder of his five-year, $55.4 million contract -- which is why they released him Thursday, a day before they owed him $5 million -- Routt is becoming quite popular around the league.

As ESPN Dallas reports, the Cowboys, Bills and Titans have shown interest in acquiring Routt -- who was one of the Raiders better defenders but who struggled toward the end of last season.

Routt’s agent said the cornerback will visit Buffalo and Tennessee, while the Vikings and Chiefs also have reached out to gauge the possibilities of working with Routt.

While he had the best statistical year of his career in 2011 -- Routt had career highs with four interceptions and 15 passes defended -- the film-watchers at Pro Football Focus weren’t quite as impressed.

PFF points out that Routt’s 17 penalties led the league among cornerbacks (eight defensive holding, seven pass interference, one illegal use of hands and one personal foul) and writes, “Routt graded reasonably well in coverage, and numbers are OK, but offset a LOT of receiving yardage with penalty yardage. Skews data.”

Routt also allowed nine touchdowns, the most in the NFL.

While Routt won’t be the top free agent cornerback on the market, he could draw some interest at a reduced rate. Not the same kind of interest as, say, Kansas City’s Brandon Carr (who was No. 2 on the top-50 free agents list put together by CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco), Atlanta’s Brent Grimes (No. 8), Tennessee’s Cortland Finnegan (No. 14), San Francisco’s Carlos Rogers (No. 14), New Orleans’ Tracy Porter (No. 20) or New York’s Aaron Ross (No. 27).

Actually, come to think of it, the free agent market will be stacked with top-flight cornerbacks, and though Routt almost certainly will draw legitimate interest -- maybe more than he already has -- he can almost certainly forget about making more than $10 million a year. Or as PFF writes, “Not saying Routt can't play, but he was being vastly overpaid. Can be a reasonable pickup for a team on a more sensible contract.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 9:35 am
 

Film Room: Saints vs. Buccaneers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



Back in Week 6, the Bucs beat the Saints 26-20 to move into first place in the NFC South. They enter the Week 9 rematch coming off a bye and once again playing New Orleans for the division lead. The Saints are coming off a surprising loss at St. Louis in which they didn’t fail to show up, but rather, simply got outplayed.

An analyst loves nothing more than to break down a matchup involving two teams that recently played each other. The previous film notes are fresh and applicable. Let’s look forward by glimpsing back.


1. Blitzing Freeman
Gregg Williams is the most aggressive blitzing coordinator in the league. It’s not just that he blitzes frequently, it’s that he blitzes with six pass-rushers (as opposed to five). And they’re fast defenders. The Saints’ nickel defense offers a lot of speed. Strong safety Roman Harper essentially serves as a swift linebacker.

Actual linebacker Jonathan Casillas is a lightning bolt when going downhill. He wouldn’t thrive as a traditional read-and-react run-defending linebacker, but as a read-and-attack blitzer, he’s fervid. Something that stood out in the Week 6 game was that when free safety Malcolm Jenkins dropped into the box, he almost always blitzed. He too does so with speed.

The Bucs offensive line did a phenomenal job at picking up New Orleans’ blitzes in the last meeting. However, the nature of those plays left Josh Freeman with minimal room to step into throws. This revealed that a lot of Freeman’s throwing power comes from his lower body (this could be why he’s a more dynamic passer outside the pocket on the run). Big as Freeman is, his ball floats a bit when he has to rely solely on his arm.

2. Saints coverages
Knowing what they know about Freeman’s arm, it will be interesting to see what coverages the Saints design to allow their corners to jump routes behind the blitzes. A floating ball is an interception opportunity. Tracy Porter is particularly good at route-jumping from his off-coverage techniques in the slot.

The Saints should feel confident in Jabari Greer’s and Patrick Robinson’s abilities to stay with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn in man coverage outside (neither wideout is particularly quick or fast). If the outside is handled with no help coverage, Porter will have more freedom to take chances from the inside.

Of course, if WE know this, then so do the Bucs. Look for them to design a few routes that could take advantage of Porter’s aggression. The fourth-year corner has been somewhat vulnerable against downfield patterns this season.

3. Running Backs
Earnest Graham started for the injured LeGarrette Blount in Week 6 and wound up rushing for 109 yards on 17 carries. It was plain to see that Graham, with his decent quickness and tempo-changing ability, gave the Bucs’ rushing attack more dimension than it has with the lumbering, bulldozing Blount. And because Graham was a good pass-blocker and receiver, the Bucs could camouflage their run/pass play-calls with him on the field. With Blount, it’s a safe bet that the play is either a between-the-tackles handoff or a basic three/five-step pass.

Blount is healthy now. It would have been interesting to see if some of his spotlight shifted over to Graham this week. We’ll never know; Graham tore his Achilles in London two weeks ago. Tampa’s No. 2 running back is now Kregg Lumpkin. And Tampa’s running game is now one dimensional.

The Saints are also dinged up at running back. Rookie Mark Ingram missed last week’s contest with a bruised heel. Veteran replacement Pierre Thomas played in his stead. Thomas’ screen pass receiving prowess gave the offense a little more dimension, but his lack of phone booth power became a problem when the Rams swarming front seven congested the lanes against New Orleans’ pull blocks.

Style-wise, the Bucs’ front seven is similar to St. Louis’ and, while not great against the run, it’s capable of invoking similar disruption.



4. Facing the Saints offense
Any team that plays the Saints this season should closely study what the Rams did last week. It was simple, really. The Rams started the game with high blitz frequency but backed off after it quickly became apparent that New Orleans’ offensive tackles could not block the defensive ends.

With pressure coming out of a four-man rush, Rams corners played tight press coverage against the Saints receivers, which took away the quick routes that Drew Brees and this offense love. On the inside, the linebackers defended the underneath lanes and the safeties jumped lanes from over the top (that’s traditional two-deep coverage). This mix of man and zone principles requires physical strength at cornerback and speed at linebacker and safety.

The Bucs have the personnel to mimic this gameplan. Rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who has a terrific combination of speed and power for trench play, destroyed left tackle Jermon Bushrod in Week 6. To be blunt, Bushrod gets destroyed often. He’s probably the worst pass-blocking left tackle in the league.

Right tackle Charles Brown had been equally as shaky. He improved his mechanics over the past few weeks but still got abused by a surprisingly explosive and always-fundamentally sound Chris Long last week. It’s a moot point now as he just landed on injured reserve (hip). The unspectacular but experienced Zach Strief is back from injury and once again starting. He’ll be facing Bucs end Michael Bennett, who is not beast but is having a career-year. It’s a matchup that favors the Bucs.

As far as the coverage goes, Tampa has drifted from its Cover 2 tradition and gone to more of a man-based scheme. Their corners are hit-or-miss jammers at the line of scrimmage but all better athletes than those the Rams put on the field. The Bucs linebackers have enough speed to perform in underneath coverage, but the same is not true of the safeties.

A lot of people think Tanard Jackson is an “oh wow!” success story because he picked off a pass in each of his first two games back from suspension. But those picks came off fortuitously tipped balls. On a down-to-down basis, Jackson has shown limited range in coverage.

5. Defending Jimmy Graham
This is always the $64,000 question for defensive coordinators. In their last meeting, the Bucs treated Graham as a wide receiver and defended him with Ronde Barber. This posed a major size differential that the Saints took advantage of (Graham finished with seven catches for 124 yards).

But don’t be surprised if Tampa uses the same tactic again. It fits well into the rest of their defensive scheme. And you can play nickel against the Saints’ base personnel because the Saints don’t have a dominant ground game right now. Tampa’s nickelback, Barber, is an excellent run-defender anyway. Besides, the more overall speed the Bucs have on the field, the better.

After all, they also have to deal with Darren Sproles.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 9 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Film Room: Panthers vs. Saints preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The Saints are 3-1 but it’s the 1-3 Panthers creating most of the chatter. Or, Cam Newton creating the chatter. Through a quarter of his rookie season, the No. 1 overall pick is, in a word, sensational. But obviously not perfect. The Panthers are still dwelling in the basement of the NFC South.

Here’s a comprehensive look at Newton and his club as they head into their first divisional showdown of the season.



1. How good is he, really?
Through four games, Newton has far exceeded all expectations. Remarkably, this includes expectations about his physical talents. We knew the 6’5”, 245-pound Auburn Tiger was an athletic monster, but rarely are quarterbacks still athletic monsters once they reach the NFL. Newton has been a productive runner, both with power and speed.

He’s a poor man’s Vick when it comes to eluding tacklers and a poor man’s Roethlisberger when it comes to shedding them. That’s a rich combination considering no other quarterback truly exhibits any of these traits (save for maybe Josh Freeman shedding defenders).

Most impressive, however, is that Newton has not leaned on his athleticism. Operating almost exclusively out of shotguns, he’s been a willing and poised statuesque passer who willingly works through his progressions from the pocket. His decisions are usually capped off by a bullet either downfield, outside the numbers (he has the uncanny arm strength to stretch the field both horizontally and vertically) or, if need be, underneath.

For the most part, Newton’s decisions have been good. He has faced an aggressive blitzing defense in Arizona, a classic 3-4 press defense in Green Bay (playing without Tramon Williams, the Packers kept Charles Woodson outside and blitzed far less often than usual that game) and, most recently, a classic Cover 2 defense in Chicago. He posted a legit 370-plus yards passing against all three of them.

The proof that it’s not all daisies and roses is that Newton also threw crucial interceptions in all three games and came away with a loss. He’s still a rookie and still prone to the occasional blunder. The blunders have been far less frequent than anyone expected, but they’ve been costly nevertheless.

2. Panthers dual tight ends
We assumed that with tight ends Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen, Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski would craft a dink-and-dunk, run-first system. Indeed, the Panthers have kept two tight ends on the field a majority of the time, but often, at least one of them (usually Olsen) has split out, serving essentially as a No. 3 receiver.

This poses serious personnel issues for defenses. Leave your base three-linebacker unit on the field and risk getting burned through the air (Shockey and Olsen have been superb downfield route runners the first four weeks). Use your nickel personnel and you risk getting run on by a team that always has a top-10 running back on the field.

The Saints are one of the few defenses that have an answer for this: strong safety Roman Harper. He is their second best run defender (behind Jonathan Vilma) and a demon in the box. He’s versatile enough to play press man coverage (he’s not particularly good at it, but Gregg Williams feels comfortable using him sporadically in this capacity) or blitz (3.5 sacks on the season).
 
Expect the Panthers in Week 5 to continue to be pass-first with their tight ends. And expect the Saints to not simply react to this, but rather, to attack by changing up what they do with Harper throughout the game in order to get Newton thinking.

3. Running Impact
Newton is the first quarterback since Vick to pose a veritable threat as a runner (Vince Young can’t be counted as a running threat quarterback because he was such a limited passer that defenses could get away with putting nine in the box against him; not a chance that happens against Newton). Having a running threat under center does wonders for your rushing attack.

The Panthers have all the resources to pound teams on the ground – DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are an excellent duo, center Ryan Kalil can lock defenders at both the first and second level, left tackle Jordan Gross is a Pro Bowler and right tackle Jeff Otah flashed his old power against Chicago last week. But for whatever reason, Chudzinski has not gone in that direction. Carolina is averaging 25.5 rushing attempts per game, tied for 18th in the NFL.

Chudzinski would be wise to change this. The threat that Newton poses really opens things up. We saw this on the third play of the game against Chicago last week:


4. What Newton will see from Saints D
The Saints have one of the most aggressive defenses in football – both in terms of execution and presnap disguise. That has a lot to do with the trust Gregg Williams has in his secondary. Jabari Greer is one of the best ball-man corners in the game. Patrick Robinson had a rough Week 1 at Green Bay but has come on the last few outings (he was phenomenal at Jacksonville).

Playmaker Tracy Porter was eased back into action last week – he missed two games with a calf injury – and should see more snaps Sunday. When you factor in free safety Malcom Jenkins’ range, the Saints clearly have the resources to handle a Panthers’ wide receiving corps that is underwhelming outside of Steve Smith.

Dealing with the tight ends might be an issue, but Roman Harper’s versatility could cause Newton to question that matchup at times. How will Newton react when he sees Harper leave Olsen or Shockey and blitz? The simple answer would be, “He’ll throw to Olsen or Shockey”. But if you and I can predict this, so can Gregg Williams.

The Saints are one of the best green dog blitzing defenses in the league. (A green dog blitz is when a linebacker has a running back man-to-man, sees that the running back is staying in to pass protect and so he goes after the quarterback in response.) These blitzes can be hard to recognize because they come unexpectedly and late in the action.
 
When blitzing is not involved, Carolina’s offensive line can contain a Saints pass-rush that has been hit-or-miss early this season (the return of end Will Smith certainly helps). Thus, expect Gregg Williams to go after Newton and get him guessing before the snap. Many of Williams’ blitzes come out of nickel personnel packages. The Saints used their nickel later in the game against the Texans to counter the receiving impact of Houston’s two tight ends (Owen Daniels and James Casey). Don’t be surprised if they refer to their nickel early against the Panthers’ two-tight end offense.

5. The other side of the ball
The Saints have remade their offense this season. It now runs through Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham. Sproles has been better for the Saints than Reggie Bush ever was (much better, in fact). That could be in part because Sproles doesn’t yet draw the attention that Bush drew. But more than anything, it’s because he has lightning quick feet and an understanding for how to create and exploit spacing in both the run and pass game.

Graham is the dynamic athlete we all knew he’d be after his 2010 debut. It just so happens that the ex-power forward is developing much quicker than expected. He’s a mismatch for any linebacker, has the size to out-position defensive backs and has better hands than Robert Meachem (who is now the fourth option in this pass offense, behind Sproles, Graham and, when healthy, Marques Colston).

Panthers strong safety Charles Godfrey has been stellar in coverage this season and can compete with Graham, but the Panther linebackers (who are really missing Jon Beason) will have trouble with Sproles. Carolina’s best hope is to get pressure on Brees early in the down.

Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy are capable of embarrassing New Orleans’ athletic but grossly unreliable tackles Jermon Bushrod and Charles Brown. But Brees knows this and is also capable of adjusting.

So who will win? Check our Week 5 NFL expert picks for all the games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 8:59 am
 

Williams showed Saints Marshawn TD for motivation

Posted by Will Brinson

In the opening round of last season's playoffs, the Saints traveled out west to play the Seahawks in the Wild-Card round. The results were anything but predictable, as Seattle -- double-digit dogs at home in the playoffs and a 7-9 division winner -- shocked New Orleans right out of contention for a Super Bowl repeat.

The most memorable moment of the game? Marshawn Lynch rumbling to the end zone for an earth-shaking (literally!) touchdown.

Clip of Beast Mode's run, which was as embarrassing for the Saints defenders as it was awesome for Lynch and the Seahawks, is now serving as motivational fodder for Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as New Orleans prepares for the season.

"It was classic Gregg Williams," cornerback Tracy Porter told Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports. "He wanted to give us that motivation coming into this year. He didn't want us to come into the season not knowing we had a bad taste in our mouth. He showed that [play], and it definitely put us on edge.

"Now it's time for payback."

Needless to say, the clip of Lynch's run isn't too popular around the Saints training camp -- rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan said that "around here, it's blasphemy" to talk about the run. (Or, more accurately, how he told his Twitter followers to vote for the fellow former California star's run during an awards show.)

And it's unlikely that anyone who played for the Saints in 2010 will ever like to see the highlight of Lynch plowing through an entire defense en route to the end zone.

But if the Saints defense can rebound to their 2009 level as a result of Williams' motivational ploy, it'll probably be a little easier to stomach.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 12:39 am
 

The biggest releases of the day

WeaverPosted by Josh Katzowitz

We had some surprising, and plenty of not so surprising, names who were released today, the first day teams could actually waive players.

Here are a few of the most-significant pink slips handed out today (we already told you about Vince Young and Tennessee here and the Baltimore guys who have been cut and the Dallas players who are gone).

-Former Vikings S Madieu Williams: He didn’t play well last year, and he’s teetering on being a bubble player in the league. Although Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier originally said he wanted to see what Williams would do in training camp, he ultimately decided not to find out. The fact Williams was supposed to make $5.4 million this year didn’t help his chances.

-Former Saints CB Randall Gay: After missing most of last season while dealing with the effects of a concussion, New Orleans released Gay. He would have cost New Orleans $5 million, and considering he was stuck behind Tracy Porter on the depth chart, this seemed like an easy call.

-Former Eagles FB Leonard Weaver: The former Pro Bowler was caught off guard by this move. This is what he wrote in a series of tweets (sics, of course, apply): “Hey there eagles nation, I'm sorry to say but I just found out I was released by the Eagles. … The kicker behind that is that the organization didn't call me and tell me. I had to find out by a reporter. … Now I have mixed feeling about that because I gave everything I had to the organization, and I would think that they would atleast call... And Let me know what was going on, but as I have learned over the years fans, business is business. …However I wish the best for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

-Former Chiefs G Brian Waters: He was a Kansas City mainstay for more than a decade, and the news of his release was met by sadness from some of the city’s media. Said Waters, who played 163 games in a Kansas City uniform: “The Chiefs and I have mutually agreed on this decision and although I look forward to continuing my career, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Kansas City."

-Former Giants RB Tiki Barber: I know it’s hard to believe, but for some reason, New York severed ties with the former NBC broadcaster.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: November 6, 2010 6:57 pm
 

Week 9 injury report analysis Part III

Posted by Andy Benoit

Bucs @ Falcons

The Bucs will once again be without starting offensive linemen Jeff Faine (quad) and Jeremy Trueblood (knee). Also missing is fullback Earnest Graham, which is noteworthy because his lead-blocking abilities fit perfectly in what has become a strict power run approach for this offense. Wideout Sammie Stroughter did not practice all week due to a foot injury. Thus, rookie Arrelious Benn has a chance to start carving out a true niche in this offense (Benn caught a 53-yard touchdown pass last week, but that’s basically been the extent of his contributions).

The Falcons likely will not have OLB Sean Weatherspoon; the first-round rookie has been out since Week 5 with a knee injury. Fullback Ovie Mughelli is questionable with a hamstring. That’s crucial because Atlanta’s best approach against this Tampa Bay D is to pound them between the tackles on the ground.

Saints @ Panthers

Does Drew Brees have a fractured knee and torn meniscus or not? The Saints are saying no – in fact, Brees is not even listed on the injury report. Running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas are both still out (Bush is technically listed as doubtful this week). Rookie CB Patrick Robinson is out with an ankle, though the Panthers do not have the aerial firepower to take advantage anyway. Besides, both Saints starting corners, Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer, who missed the Steeler game, are probable after practicing all week.

Carolina’s 28th-ranked rushing attack will once again be missing RT Jeff Otah (knee) and RB DeAngelo Williams (foot).

Giants @ Seahawks

No Shaun O’Hara for New York. Thus, Adam Koets, who has decent movement skills but lacks O’Hara’s nastiness and veteran shrewdness at the second level in the run game, will be the fulcrum of the offensive line. The Giants are coming off a bye, which explains why basically everyone else (save for OT Will Beatty and FB Madison Hedgecock) is healthy.

The Seahawks are starting Charlie Whitehurst in place of injured Matt Hasselbeck (concussion). Rookie receiver Golden Tate (ankle) is also out for Seattle. And, likely, so is rookie LT Russell Okung (ankle). Because Tyler Polumbus is questionable with a knee injury – and, frankly, because he does not begin to have quick enough feet to handle Osi Umenyiora – the Seahawks will likely turn to veteran Chester Pitts.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 10:25 pm
 

Week 8 injury report analysis Part IV

Posted by Andy Benoit

Vikings @ Patriots

You may have heard that there is some question as to whether Brett Favre will play on his fractured ankle. With the exception of a few limited drills on Friday, Favre did not practice all week. But he expects to play. The only other Vikings who are classified as anything worse than “probable” are CB Lito Sheppard and G Chris DeGeare. But nobody cares about either of those guys because they’re not Brett Favre.

Read into the Patriots injury report what you will. RB Fred Taylor (toe) and S Jarrad Page (calf) are both out. WR Deion Branch (hamstring), S Patrick Chung (knee) and DE Mike Wright (knee) are questionable. Expect Branch and Chung to play. Also, in true Patriot spirit, QB Tom Brady is probable with a right shoulder.

Seahawks @ Raiders

Five of Seattle’s questionable players did not participate in practice: OT Russell Okung (ankle), CB Kelly Jennings (hamstring), DT Brandon Mebane (calf), RB Michael Robinson (hamstring) and CB Walter Thurmond (head). The Jennings and Thurmond injuries catch your eye because it could mean Seattle has to rely heavily on undrafted second-year pros Roy Lewis and Nate Ness. Expect backup safety Jordan Babineaux to get work at corner (Babineaux has been very effective in this role before).

The injuries at cornerback may actually be offset by Oakland’s injuries at wide receiver. Louis Murphy (chest) and Chaz Schilens (knee) are both out. Backup wideout Nick Miller (ankle) and go-to guy Zach Miller are also questionable (foot). Both were limited in practice this week. The man in charge of throwing these players the ball, QB Bruce Gradkowski, is questionable with the shoulder problem that has sidelined him the past few weeks.

Steelers @ Saints

Saints running backs Reggie Bush (fibula) and Pierre Thomas (ankle) are both out. Both players are frustrated, as they originally expected to be back by now. An X-ray last.

Saturday revealed that Bush’s fibula still had a visible fracture; Thomas is currently on crutches.

The Saints do not expect to get star cornerback Jabari Greer back this week. He’s listed as doubtful after sitting out Week 7 with a shoulder injury. The good news is No. 2 corner Tracy Porter IS expected to return after missing the last three games with a knee injury.
Aside from starting defensive ends Brett Keisel (hamstring) and Aaron Smith (triceps), the Steelers are healthy. Keisel and Smith may not be household names, but they’re significant pieces in Dick LeBeau’s defense. This will be the first time that Pittsburgh truly leans on first-round pick Ziggy Hood.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: October 6, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 6, 2010 6:21 pm
 

Costly injury for Saints

Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFL announced today that there are still 30 other teams in its league, all of which play outside the Twin Cities and New England areas. One of those teams is the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. And the Saints have someT. Porter (US Presswire) news: star cornerback Tracy Porter is out 3-4 weeks.

Sean Payton announced that Porter recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Porter injured his knee against Carolina (he left the game but actually returned later). To fill his void, the Saints re-signed Leigh Torrence.

Porter’s absence could be extremely debilitating to New Orleans’ secondary. Yes, the secondary has performed well despite a few injuries already. Thanks to the emergence of Malcom Jenkins, the Saints have survived without free safety Darren Sharper. And last week, Usama Young showed solid playmaking prowess filling in for an injured Roman Harper. (Sharper, who has been recovering from microfracture knee surgery, remains on PUP another two weeks; Harper was limited in practice Wednesday with his hamstring problem).

The safeties are important in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ scheme, but thanks to the scheme’s attacking nature, the safeties’ limitation can be disguised fairly easily. That’s not the case with the cornerback position. Williams relies heavily on press coverage from his defenders outside. The Saints proved to be vulnerable when their starting corners were out last season.

Randall Gay will fill in at Porter’s spot opposite Jabari Greer. Gay has starting experience and should be fine, though he doesn’t have Porter’s fluid hips to thrive in underneath man coverage. More alarming is the hole that’s now at nickel corner. First-round rookie Patrick Robinson is likely to fill it, though he has been a disappointment – perhaps even major disappointment – thus far.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com