Every NFL team has a plan until it's hit in the mouth with injuries. For the New Orleans Saints, a rough 1-2 combination of injuries has them reeling in early August.
The team announced Wednesday that defensive end Kenyon Coleman and wide receiver Joe Morgan both will miss the season. Coleman suffered a torn pectoral muscle; Morgan tore his meniscus and partially tore his ACL.
Saints coach Sean Payton said Morgan will have surgery Wednesday, and Coleman will undergo a surgical procedure most likely Thursday. Both injuries hurt because the two players were expected to play key roles. Coleman's injury might be tough to recover from.
Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan brought Coleman from Dallas to New Orleans to anchor the team's poor run defense. Ryan typically overhyped Coleman by calling him the best run-stopping 3-4 defensive end in the league, but there was some truth in that boast. Coleman is a trusty veteran who can take up blockers. Second-year pro Akiem Hicks will have to step up with Coleman out. Ryan also brought pass rusher Victor Butler from Dallas, and he tore his ACL.
Morgan was penciled in as New Orleans' No. 3 receiver. With Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem off the team, the Saints were hoping Morgan could step up as their primary vertical threat. Kenny Stills, a fifth-round draft pick from Oklahoma, is next in line to replace Morgan. The Saints do a great job developing wide receivers out of nowhere, and they were counting on Morgan to mature in his third season.
Payton and Saints quarterback Drew Brees are excellent at making adjustments on the fly. The offense will be fine. Saints fans should be far more worried about Ryan losing another starter off a defense in transition.
The guys Ryan brought in to help teach his defense didn't even make it to the preseason.The Around The League Podcast is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.