Deuce: Saints are one of NFL’s deepest teams
Saints radio analyst Deuce McAllister said Tuesday the 2019 edition of the team excels in a lot of areas, but their biggest strength may be depth.
“From top to bottom, the 53 players they have, they are probably one of the deepest units in the NFL,” McAllister said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.
“If (an injury sidelines someone for) a play or two or a week or two, they have enough depth to sustain it.”
The most notable places where depth has come into play is at quarterback, where Teddy Bridgewater started – and won – five games while Drew Brees’ thumb healed, and at running back, where Latavius Murray has had back-to-back 100-yard games in place of Alvin Kamara.
“Teddy growing in that offense, that was critical,” McAllister said. “Everyone will tell you, other players had to step up.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some two-tailback looks (in the second half of the season) with Alvin (Kamara) split out wide.”
It was more than just offense stepping up, but defense and special teams as well, McAllister noted.
“This has been one of Sean Payton’s best coaching jobs,” McAllister said. “Having to shuffle, having to create points. Being able to game plan and win games without some of those weapons, that was impressive.”
The Saints’ defense, which was one of the league’s best against the run a year ago, has been even better in 2019, holding each of its last five opponents to less than 260 yards.
“They’re a top-five defense,” McAllister said. “You take away the Houston game, they might be the No. 1 defense.
“The one place they can improve is turnovers. If they can get their hands on more balls, that’s where you talk about elite defense.”
With Carolina’s Cam Newton landing on injured reserve earlier Tuesday, McAllister noted the Saints will not face a mobile quarterback in the second half of the season.
“The number of sacks, quarterback hits, quarterback hurries, those numbers will increase,” he said.
On a gameday roster of 46 players, two undervalued assets for the team are New Orleans native Will Clapp, who has played center, guard and a blocking tight end, and Swiss army knife Taysom Hill.
“Will gives you three players,” McAllister said. “Taysom Hill gives you three players, possibly four players.”
In terms of new players for 2019, McAllister said the biggest surprise has been rookie free agent wide receiver and kick returner Deonte Harris.
The Saints return to practice Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s game with the Atlanta Falcons in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…