Saints Play Dolphins In Final Preseason Game, Bubble Players To Watch
The New Orleans Saints wrap up their season Thursday night versus the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium with a 6:30 kickoff. Catch the action on our sister station 97.3 the Dawg, with pregame and postgame as well.
For several players, their performance tonight will be the difference between receiving a weekly NFL paycheck, or looking for a new line of work. Right now, the Saints have 75 players on their roster. On Saturday, that number must be trimmed down to 53.
Wide receiver Andy Tanner (pictured) has been a bubble player for three years now, and each year he's missed the final cut. As a result, he's bounced on and off the practice squad. He's in a battle with veteran receiver Preston Parker for the final WR spot. Tanner has great hands, while Parker has better speed and deep threat ability.
The running back position has produced preseason stars in the past for the Saints (Pierre Thomas, Travaris Cadet, Chris Ivory) and tailback Khiry Robinson hopes to follow in that line. He's looking up at a crowded backfield (Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram, Thomas, Cadet), but the Saints kept 5 running backs a season ago, and Robinson wants to make coach Sean Payton look long and hard at possibly carrying 5 again.
Rookie quarterback and Tulane product Ryan Griffin has impressed in limited action. Ideally, Payton would like to keep Griffin on the practice squad. However, if Griffin shines against the Dolphins, he could potentially earn a spot on another 53 man roster. In that case, he may force Payton's hand to keep 3 quarterbacks on the active roster, something he's not prone to doing.
Defensively, two veterans are in danger of missing the cut. Safety Jim Leonard and defensive tackle Tom Johnson are in a battle with youngsters Kevin Reddick, Rufus Johnson and Rod Sweeting. If any of the young players can stand out on special teams, it could push Leonard and Johnson toward the waiver wire.