Following the Saturday deadline to trim rosters to the 53 man regular season strength, the New Orleans Saints had a mix of surprises and no-brainers. I was surprised that five running backs were kept, as Travaris Cadet and Khiry Robinson were both able to secure themselves a spot on the committee of running backs. Former Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin was also cut but might find himself back within the organization by way of the practice squad. Also surprising was the release of linebacker Jay Richardson, who had a solid training camp and a decent showing in his preseason games.
Another surprising element is what seems to be a concerted effort to go younger in the secondary. Among their five active cornerbacks, the average age is 25, with Rod Sweeting being the youngest at 22 and Jabari Greer the oldest at 31. Recent free agent acquisition Keenan Lewis is 27.
Among the five safeties the Saints kept, four of them are 26 or younger, with Roman Harper being the oldest at 30 years of age.
Although inexperience comes with youth, I am a fan of New Orleans’ budding youth movement. Vaccaro in particular stands out as he has been filled with energy and excitement since training camp began with an eagerness to get out there and hit. The inexperience can be made up for with above average coaching and veteran mentoring, both of which the Saints can provide.
Head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are battle tested, veteran coaches who can certainly get the most out of their players, even the young ones. While I expect the new-look defense to make their fair share of mistakes, I’m hoping the youth movement will bring back some of that excitement and swagger that has been lacking recently. How this younger group performs and develops together will be an interest of mine throughout the season, and I have my hopes for an improved defensive outing this season.