After the end of league-wide cuts to trim down to the 53 man regular season roster, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Andy Tanner must have breathed a huge sigh of relief. Coming out of Midwestern State and joining the Saints in 2010, Tanner has been signed, released, re-signed and re-released to the tune of 30 or more times. He also saw some time on the Saints practice squad, too.
New Orleans decided to keep Tanner on the active 53-man roster heading into the regular season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, so they are obviously impressed with his body of work and what he can bring to the team.
Just what exactly can Tanner bring to the Saints?
At six feet tall and weighing around 183 pounds, Tanner will obviously not be a huge, physically dominating wide receiver. What he does bring to the table is intimate familiarity with the Saints offensive system, good hands and a great working attitude. Tanner has long been a fan favorite in New Orleans, and in this year’s preseason and training camp Tanner has had great showings. His two touchdown performance against the Houston Texans highlighted some of what he can do.
Again, he obviously won’t be able to be a big, physically dominant receiver like Calvin Johnson or Andre Johnson, but being similarly built like Denver’s Wes Welker and New England’s Danny Amendola with comparable speed, I could foresee Sean Payton using him in a similar manner. I’m not saying that Tanner will have a breakout year and become a huge superstar capable of commanding a $3 million annual salary, but he could definitely be used in situations that highlight his skill set.
The first opportunity to see Tanner will be this Sunday when the Saints host the Falcons in New Orleans. I’m not expecting much play from Tanner, but if he is used at all and can avoid mistakes, I could see him gradually earning more and more snaps as the season progresses.