Say what you will about the playoff game in Seattle, Roman Harper is a gamer. I know that many of us did and still do blame him for the defensive implosion that ultimately cost us our season but I blame the coaching staff as much as I blame Harper for how that played out. Harper has been with the team long enough that we all know by now his biggest liability is in coverage, especially downfield. He was routinely put out on an island in man to man and that’s why he was burned. He’s not a corner and yet he was put in that position way too often because of the scheme, and the Seahawks targeted it all day long. Add to that the fact that Malcolm Jenkins was not playing, and you can understand why it happened. Jenkins played at an extremely high level all season and Harper didn’t have the luxury of his roaming play making free safety over the top. A shell of the former self of Darren Sharper played at free safety instead, and he deserves equal blame for being a step slow to every single play. Make that several steps slow. Harper just wasn’t put in a position to succeed, something Gregg Williams is usually a genius at designing. The reason Harper had the best year of his career prior to that game and made a Pro Bowl is because Williams helped Harper played to his strengths. The Saints got away from that due to injuries, but they’ll be getting back to it soon enough.
Roman Harper will in all likelihood be an unrestricted free agent…
free to sign with anyone once the lockout is lifted. As an incumbent Pro Bowl strong safety, he figures to command a very nice contract on the open market. So the Saints are at huge risk of losing him, right? Think again. Read this to see where his head is about a possible free agency situation. How can you not love the guy? He loves the city, loves the team, loves his teammates, and that’s worth more to him than a big contract on the open market. Don’t get me wrong, he’s worth a lot to the Saints and I’m sure they’ll pay him hansomely, but I don’t see him leaving for more money. I always boast about the high character on this team, and Harper is another example of that very thing. It’s what makes the Saints so easy to root for. Sure, Roman Harper maybe isn’t the next Ronnie Lott, but he’s a very good and capable player and he’s the kind of guy you want on your team. He’s the kind of guy you want to root for as a fan.
Let my feelings be known: anything short of having this guy back as our starting strong safety would be a big mistake.