As per league rules, NFL teams cut down their rosters to 53 active players Saturday afternoon, rewarding many players for the hard work they put in during the offseason, training camp and preseason. Many more were left without a home, however. The New Orleans Saints were no different, with some of the positional battles being figured out early on, such as Charles Brown winning the starting left tackle position over former 2009 No. 2 overall draft pick Jason Smith and rookie Terron Armstead. Other positions, however, were not completely clear following the conclusion of the preseason with the game against the Miami Dolphins.
I had previously said that I thought running back Khiry Robinson would earn himself a roster spot on the running back committee over Travaris Cadet, having believed Robinson simply edged Cadet out. It turns out that I was half right — and half wrong, as well.
Robinson and Cadet were both retained by the Saints, but what does this mean for them and what does it mean for the running back committee?
Well, first and foremost, this once again shows that head coach Sean Payton and the Saints have no problem keeping younger guys who distinguish themselves with their play on the field. In addition to Robinson, New Orleans kept five other undrafted rookies on their roster. Youth and inexperience can be shored up with great coaching and a great organizational system, both of which the Saints have.
This being said, however, I wouldn’t expect Robinson or Cadet to see major playing time just yet. The running back position is currently pretty solid with Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram. Thomas and Sproles have both shown what they can do, and Ingram is poised to have a big year this season having come into the preseason healthy and hungry for success.
Assuming these are the guys who will work out of the backfield for New Orleans, I expect Robinson and Cadet to get limited work as they are groomed and developed within the system. Payton and company obviously saw something they liked in these two guys enough to keep them around rather than risk losing them to another team.
Again, I don’t expect a whole bunch of carries or throws to these two guys, but New Orleans will use Robinson or Cadet if they feel like they give them a chance to win. For both Robinson and Cadet I am predicting no more than 40 carries for either one, maybe 200-300 rushing yards and two or three touchdowns. Robinson might end up catching more passes out the backfield, however, having caught a handful more than Cadet in the preseason.