A number of key Saints players have been ruled questionable for Sunday’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Saints injury report includes Terron Armstead, Craig Robertson, Mark Ingram, and Daniel Lasco. All of those players have either been battling injuries recently or, in Robertson’s case, went down last week.
There were also some surprise listings, including Max Unger, Senio Kelemete, and Michael Thomas. Fortunately, the Saints injury report listed every player as questionable. But all three of these late additions are heavily troubling.
Most troubling are the injuries to the offensive line. The Saints called up UDFA Jack Allen earlier in the week. It’s unclear if this is a sign that Unger won’t play, of if he’s just insurance in case Unger goes down. It could similarly be a sign that Kelemete won’t play, as he and Tim Lelito both serve as swing backups at center and guard. If Kelemete can’t play, that pushes Lelito into the lineup at guard, leaving no one as backup center. Hence Allen.
Against the dangerous d-line of the Buccaneers, the long Saints injury report is worrying. It would be great if Armstead can play. That would push Peat over to LG, where he’s been at his most effective. It would make any injury to Kelemete less grave to the unit.
After the offensive line, the biggest concern is what to do at MLB. We can assume that Nate Stupar will get the start over Stephone Anthony. But with Stupar such an important player for special teams, and with Anthony desperately needing playing time to develop, I’m concerned that he’ll see the field more often than I’d like. In his brief cameo last week, he managed to badly embarrass himself.
Reports indicate that Mark Ingram will likely play. Michael Thomas is a game-time decision. As important as he is to this offense, I’m actually interested in seeing Coleman take some snaps. He’s earned them, and he needs to leave an impression.