Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Peat bogged

Ever since training camp opened, Saints first round draft pick Andrus Peat has repeatedly impressed observers with how out of shape and unready he is.
Peat project: The Saints continue to move Andrus Peat around the offensive line. After working at right tackle and left tackle earlier in camp, he’s been getting some work at guard. He worked on the left side yesterday and lined up on the right side today. Conditioning still seems to be an issue and he needs to refine his technique at the guard position.
The fact that they're already trying him at guard seems like a red flag. Not everybody thinks so. ESPN's Mike Triplett doesn't think it means anything bad.
My read on the situation is the same as it was last week when Peat began taking snaps at left tackle for the first time. I don’t see this as a promotion or a full-time position switch. I see it as the Saints grooming Peat to be their top backup at a variety of positions since he hasn’t been making an immediate push for the starting right tackle job.

Peat spent the entire summer as the Saints’ second-string right tackle until late last week, when he switched over to left tackle to fill in for injured starter Terron Armstead for two days. The 6-foot-7, 316-pounder played left tackle throughout his career at Stanford.
Slotting Peat in as the extra tackle makes sense. Zach Streif was a regular at "Number 64 is an eligible receiver" for a few years before becoming a starter.  But it's unusual to try out a tackle you've drafted number one as a guard this early.  Especially when the reasons you've drafted the guy so highly are.. well, kind of weird.
After last night’s first round ended, Payton said little about how the Saints’ first pick, Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat, fits the team’s roster, and less about any specific plans the Saints have for him. Instead, Payton talked about how, in 1981, Todd Peat, Sr, had a superior letterman’s jacket.

Read the entire quote:
His father and I are the same age. His father went to Champagne Central High School which is in the middle of the state of Illinois. The first time I met his dad we were seniors being recruited by Northern Illinois. His dad played guard in the league for a long time. I just remember seeing his dad on that college visit. I can remember it was 1981 like it was yesterday. His dad had one of those letterman jackets on with five varsity letters all over it and I only had played my senior year. I hadn’t gotten my letter yet so I had stuff my mom gave me to make up really my letterman’s coat. His dad went on to have a great career at Northern, he was drafted, played a long time. This guy has all the things you look for. He is smart. He is big. He is very athletic. He is built much differently than his father, his stature.
Maybe it will be okay.   Or maybe...  
Was last season's 7-9 showing from the Saints an anomaly or a sign of things to come?  Unfortunately Who Dat nation, the voice of the Saints, Jim Henderson paints a picture of more doom and gloom instead of a silver lining.

"I think we'd all agree that we as fans, we as media, as members of the organization; we've become a little bit complacent and a little bit used to the success we've had," Henderson said on Sports Talk. "It's kind of hard to remember back to '04 and '05 after the wave started in '06 and the Super Bowl and everything."

"I think we're about to get a dose of reality again for this football team and this organization," Henderson continued. "I hope not for the fans' sake. It's hard to build a consensus based on the first week; but if you asked me what's impressed me so far, I would say the weather and I couldn't really say anything else."
While there are plenty of reasons to be worried about this team, I'm not sure we're really at "doom and gloom" with the 2015 Saints yet. Just because a lot of things are different doesn't mean they are necessarily worse. 

If we had to name one position upon whose success or failure to hang the season's prospects, offensive line would be right up at the top of our list.  Peat wasn't expected to come in and make them better right away.  But the unit and its depth needs to improve if the Saints are going to. It would be a shame if they come out of training camp looking even shakier than when they went in.

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