METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints have so much star power in their backfield that they had to add a slash mark to their unofficial depth chart.
The Saints listed Mark Ingram/Adrian Peterson as the starting running back -- the only duo to earn that designation -- when they released their first unofficial depth chart in advance of Thursday night’s preseason opener at the Cleveland Browns.
Of course that doesn’t mean they intend to split touches exactly 50-50. It’s not even clear how many of these “unofficial” depth-chart designations are chosen by the coaching staff versus the public relations staff.
But it was still somewhat interesting that they decided to avoid any possible ego-bruising by listing both guys as the starter. And it’s probably a fair example of how they’re being viewed at this point of the offseason.
Ingram and Peterson generally take turns with the first-string offense in practice -- with maybe a slight edge to Ingram. And Ingram will likely have more total touches and yards from scrimmage because he is so heavily involved in the passing game as a pass-catcher and pass-protector.
But Peterson has seen plenty of action in the passing game, as well. He even split out wide during an empty-backfield snap in Monday’s practice, and he scored on a 12-yard screen pass Sunday night.
I haven’t really seen anything yet to change my projections for the duo (about 800-900 rushing yards, 300-400 receiving yards and 7-9 touchdowns for Ingram; about 700-800 rushing yards, 150-250 receiving yards and 6-8 touchdowns for Peterson).
Some other observations from the depth chart:
I don’t read too much into newly signed receiver Ted Ginn Jr. being listed as a starter ahead of Willie Snead. They could have used a slash mark themselves. But I bet it's partly because Ginn works mainly as an outside receiver and Snead works mainly as a slot receiver. Snead will see plenty of work in two-receiver sets, and I think he’ll wind up with more snaps and catches than Ginn.
I did, however, find it notable that cornerback Delvin Breaux is listed with the second string behind P.J. Williams and Ken Crawley. Breaux has been sidelined for a week with an unspecified injury, but other injured players are still listed as starters on the depth chart. When healthy, Breaux was taking all the snaps with the first string early in camp. But this could be an indication that he’ll have to keep earning that right in such a crowded position group.
Veteran Craig Robertson is listed as the starting weakside linebacker. That’s one of the tightest competitions on the roster. So far, third-year pro Stephone Anthony and rookie Alex Anzalone have taken the most snaps on the weak side with the first-string defense, while Robertson has worked heavily as the backup middle linebacker. But Robertson has been getting more looks at weak side recently. He is the most proven option and will likely start if the young players don’t step up enough to beat him out.