The Saints broke the news to the fans and media yesterday that Joe Morgan (torn ACL and meniscus) and Kenyon Coleman (torn pectoral muscle) will both be sitting out the 2013 campaign for the duration. They now join Victor Butler on the shelf for the year before the first preseason game is even played. Two defensive starters and your #3 receiver this soon is really not good and this can't be characterized any other way than a "death blow" to the Saints' depth. I can't remember in my years of watching the Saints losing three key players prior to the first preseason game, that's unheard of. And so we're left looking at the "next men up" and what this means for the roster.
Joe Morgan: I think there's a ton of uncertainty behind Marques Colston and Lance Moore right now. The signing of Steve Breaston adds needed competition and it will be interesting to see who the Saints end up with. The way the injuries have gone the guys that make the roster could easily be the last ones left standing. Is Breaston healthy? Are Toon and Stills ready? Is Tanner going to get his shot or is he just a camp body pipe dream? Is Saalim Hakim the answer with his speed? None of us really know who sticks. There's an increased chance the Saints will now keep five receivers not named Roby due to the uncertainty and Colston not being 100%, though, which raises the odds of Tanner or Stills making it. I'm pretty sure Breaston and Toon are close to locks. Morgan is fast, but I'm not sure he's that much better than these other guys. Yes he can stretch the field, but so can Stills and Hakim. I think Toon and Breaston are much better all around players and could benefit the offense in a multitude of ways, so maybe this is the year the Saints sacrifice a burner for better all around players. Morgan's big play potential will be sorely missed, though.
Kenyon Coleman: This one is a bit tougher to swallow. Ryan loves Coleman and advertised him as the "best 3-4 end run defender in the NFL". His grades on PFF don't dispute that much. The main guy that I think this changes things for is Akiem Hicks. He's likely now thrust into the starting role and will get a lot of reps. This is his chance very early in his career to take the bull by the horns as a starter and never look back. He's got the skills to be better than Coleman, but he lacks seasoning severely. Tom Johnson and perhaps Tyrunn Walker can spell Hicks, but if the Saints are going to absorb this blow properly he is the guy that needs to step up. Vet Jay Richardson probably went from a bubble player to making the team with this injury, too.
In the Saints' offense I consider their #3 receiver a starter, pretty much, so the Saints have now lost three of their 22 starters before a single snap has taken place. And we still have four preseason games to go. I am officially dreading these games. I am now officially in the "I could care less how the game goes as long as no one gets lost for the season" head space about these games.