The New Orleans Saints suffered a couple big blows a few days ago at camp with wide receiver Joe Morgan and defensive end Kenyon Coleman being lost for the season. Though both are not household names, they were both expected to contribute to a bounce back season.
Akiem Hicks will be expected to step up with Coleman lost for the season.
Coleman, a free agent signee from the Dallas Cowboys, followed Rob Ryan from Dallas and was expected to log some significant time at one of the defensive end positions on the 3 man front. Coleman’s familiarity with the system was going to be helpful in the rotation on a defense that was just awful last season. The loss of Coleman opens the door for second year pro Akiem Hicks. Hicks will be expected to start and be a disruptive force, which he showed he can be in limited time last season.
The loss of Joe Morgan opens the door for some intense competition for the third wide receiver spot. Morgan, who is lost for the season with an ACL tear, was expected to add an explosive element to the offense with his speed. His loss is a huge blow because there is no one on the roster currently who has proven big play ability. The Saints will look to replace Morgan with Nick Toon, Kenny Stills, or newly signed free agent Steve Breaston. Of the three, Stills has to best chance to fill that deep threat role with his 4.3 speed. Breaston, assuming his knee is healthy, would make sense because of his experience in the league. Toon, who was injured last year, has already spent one year in the Saints system, would bring more size to the position if he was to win the job.
Though the loss of Coleman and Morgan are crucial, there are options there for replacement. The door opening for Akiem Hicks may make the injury to Coleman a blessing in disguise for the Saints. And the loss of Morgan will kick off one of the most intense position competitions on the whole team. Either way, the injuries will require some young faces to step up in a big way.