As we eagerly await the arrival of the Saints first preseason game I felt it was the perfect time to have a Mailbag. As usual we got some great questions from you all and I’ve answered each of the questions submitted below. If I missed anyone’s I apologize and feel free to ask it in the comments and I’ll follow up.
Is Tommy Lee Lewis flying under the radar?
— Marques Fuller (@MarQtheMaestro) August 7, 2017
Answer: This is kind of a complicated question. Tommy Lee is definitely not getting nearly as much fan fare as Brandon Coleman and Corey Fuller have been. Some of this is due to the fact that those two have simply been objectively better by comparison and expectation, however there is definitely a degree of validity to the idea that TLL isn’t get his just due. Unfortunately for Lewis the reality is that he’s more build for a career in limbo than the NFL, and while he’s done an excellent job of improving going into his second year and being more of a complete receiver and more consistent…the limitations of his physique are legitimate. I won’t make any bold predictions about roster spots at this point, but while TLL deserves some love, I feel like he’s flying under the radar because he belongs under the radar, and that’s a good thing for the Saints. It means his improvement has been overshadowed by the improvements of others.
what are the chances D. Victor makes the 53? And if he makes it, who’s spot does he take?
— Don Kellum (@DonKellum) August 7, 2017
Answer: If we are looking at roster spots based on who made it last year then Butler is fighting with Tommy Lee Lewis and Daniel Lasco for a roster spot. He’s certainly making the most of his snaps in camp so far, and that means he very well may be yet another diamond in the rough found by Sean Payton and company. However, if he takes TLL’s spot that means the Saints would be keeping 5 running backs, and if he takes Lasco’s spot then that means he has to significantly outperform him on special teams. I could see him taking TLL spot if he shows return ability, but otherwise without an injury the numbers are just not in his favor. But to be fair to Butler he has 4 preseason games to make an impact. If he makes big plays out on the field against live competition he could definitely have a shot, I think he has a better one than Lewis as of right now.
Listening to radio on 1280 an he said he thinks Drews finished time to move on that we would be better with Kaepernick do you believe it
— John Nunez (@Whodatfisherman) August 7, 2017
Answer: Whoever said this is simply not very bright. The term ‘shock jock’ exists for a reason, and clearly that is this person’s aspiration in life. I like Colin Kaepernick, I think he’s gotten blacklisted unfairly, but the world where he makes the Saints better in 2017 than Drew Brees doesn’t exist. Period.
With all the talent at LB how and CB how many of each do you see ending up on 53?
— moek (@Moek2214) August 6, 2017
Answer: Some of this will depend on health and performance, and some will depend on whether the team commits to the 3-safety formation or not, but I think there will be 7 linebackers and 6 corners on the final 53.
do you miss me? Also, with all the injuries on the o-line, should Brees even play this preseason?
— Andrew Juge (@AndrewJuge) August 6, 2017
Answer: You will always be missed around here. The offensive line injuries are definitely concerning, but Drew does need to get SOME preseason reps. More importantly his teammates need to get at least a decent amount of reps with him out there to make sure their timing and chemistry is on point. I’m completely in favor of reducing his preseason reps and pulling him if protections are looking suspect, but those reps do have value even for a veteran like Brees.
So… Drescher? “Never break up a losing team”…?
— Monedula (@Monedula_) August 6, 2017
Answer: More like the Devil you know vs the Devil you don’t. Drescher was less than fantastic last year, but the guys who were trying to replace him were flatout bad, and at least the Saints know they can rely on him to be decent. There’s a difference between knowing someone is acceptable, and wishing they were better, it’s totally possible to have both at once.
An issue of defense last few years seemed to be blowing assignments. Is DA teaching base scheme well enough for game and weekly adjustments?
— Torrence Joseph (@TorrenceJoseph) August 6, 2017
Answer: Honestly I didn’t feel like there were many if any assignment issues last year. Last year’s problems were a deficit of NFL level talent mostly due to injuries, and young players having to learn on the spot. One of the areas that gives me hope from last year’s defenses was the fact that they generally did a good job of making adjustments in game and closing the gap as the games wore on. Certainly there are still concerns, but I believe health and continuity are much larger concerns than attention to detail from the coaches (also note that the improvement in some of the positional coaches should help as well).