The Falcons keep throwing past-their-prime solutions at their pass-rushing dilemma (read: Dwight Freeney), but there’s a glimmer of hope tonight with Saints starting left tackle Terron Armstead out for the game with a knee injury. If the Falcons can’t disrupt Brees, it only heaps more pressure on uber-talented cornerback Desmond Trufant to isolate and shut down the New Orleans air attack. Not easy in the lathered-up Superdome, where Brees and cheap jerseys and friends have scored 8.9 more points per game, chalked up 50-plus more yards and been nearly 8 percentage points better on third down at home than on the road.
The Falcons’ defense has yet to evolve into the Seahawks-esque whirlwind fans were promised when Dan Quinn arrived from Seattle. To be fair, the coach didn’t inherit much, but it feels like Atlanta hasn’t been able to rush the passer in a thousand eons. Vic Beasley’s lone takedown remains the only sack on the year for a defense allowing more points per game than all but three other teams.
The Saints finished 31st in total defense last year so just about any addition should be considered an upgrade. Kruger is battle-tested and will add a different element to the Saints’ pass rush than they’ve had in previous seasons. When there is nowhere to go but up, it’s always worth a try.
While Cleveland may be in a full on youth movement, the Saints have been stacking vets on defense all offseason long. Despite a promising young core that features players like Stephone Anthony, Delvin Breaux, Obum Gwacham and 2016 first-round pick Sheldon Rankins, the team also grabbed Cortland Finnegan and Roman Harper.
Evan was drafted by New Orleans back in 2006. He missed just seven starts over 10 seasons with the club, who cut him in February after the veteran refused to agree to a pay cut.
After flaming out with the Seahawks this offseason, Evans would loom as an immediate starter with the Saints, who continue to shuffle their line just days before meeting the Raiders in the opener.
“Like throwing popcorn at a battle ship, trying to run inside like that,” former Chiefs head coach Hank Stram quips alongside Tim Brant from the CBS Sports booth. He’s been barking for the Steelers to try something to the outside. And on third-and-goal, Stram gets his wish.
Fullback Frank Pollard leaks out into the flat as middle linebacker Sam Mills is uncharacteristically late to diagnose the play. With Steelers quarterback Mark Malone rolling to his right, Pollard is wide open. The go-ahead score seems imminent … until Jackson blows past pulling guard Terry Long and bats Malone’s pass harmlessly to the ground.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the development, helping to explain Lewis’ goodbye message Friday evening on Instagram. Lewis was limited to only six games last season because of surgeries for an MCL tear, torn labrum and sports hernia. Lewis was dealing with a hip problem this offseason. He was set to make $2.7 million.
The injuries were just too much for Lewis to overcome. The Saints telegraphed this move earlier this week when they signed Cortland Finnegan. They have decent cornerback depth with Delvin Breaux and second-year pro P.J. Williams, who has enjoyed a nice training camp.
Nicks’ career hit a speedbump after a 76-catch, 1,192-yard season in 2011. At that time, the tandem of Nicks and Victor Cruz was looked at as one of the NFL‘s most feared receiving tandems. Nicks, at one point, was supposed to receive a similar mega-deal, but a series of injuries led to a sharp decline in production.
Nicks appeared in six games for the Giants last year, catching seven passes for 54 yards. He also had stints in Indianapolis and Tennessee.