Examining the New Orleans Saints' roster:
I was extremely tempted to add veteran Luke McCown back onto the 53-man roster this week. He seems to be ahead of Griffin in the Saints' pecking order since he has now entered all three preseason games ahead of Griffin with the first-string offense. I was surprised by that since the two QBs had more of an even 50-50 split during practices all summer. ... I'm tentatively sticking with Griffin as the backup because I don't think McCown has clearly outshined him in games or practices, but the Saints' coaches could obviously feel differently. Neither scenario would surprise me.
RUNNING BACKS (5)
I'm assuming at this point that fullback Erik Lorig will begin the season on injured reserve with a leg injury that has so far kept him completely absent from practice. However, I don't know that for a fact. The Saints could also decide to save a roster spot for Lorig or place him on short-term injured reserve, designated for a return. In the meantime, I'm going with Johnson as his replacement. I was already leaning toward switching from veteran Greg Jones to Johnson last week. Then Johnson cemented it with his impressive effort on a touchdown catch during the opening drive Saturday night against the Indianapolis Colts.
I've been saying all along that I only expect the Saints to wind up keeping five of these guys. But Stills' quad injury might open the door for New Orleans to keep all six. If the Saints decide that they can't afford to keep all six receivers, it's starting to look like Meachem or Toon could be in the most jeopardy based on their lack of production in preseason games. But all of them bring value. ... Rookies Brandon Coleman and Seantavius Jones seem more like practice-squad candidates.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
I still like undrafted rookie Nic Jacobs' potential as a massive blocker., but the practice squad seems a more likely fit for him.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
No change here from last week (other than listing Goodwin ahead of Lelito in the pecking order). I'm giving Jones the slight edge over Senio Kelemete for that final roster spot because of his versatility as a guard/tackle and because he seemed to play a little better recently. It's very close, though, and it wouldn't be a shock for them both to make the team.
DEFENSIVE LINE (6)
No changes here, either. Veteran backup Brandon Deaderick has played well at both tackle and end this summer, so he's absolutely a good bet to crack the roster. But I think the Saints have enough depth with their six returning players.
I've added Butler back onto the roster and removed rookie Khairi Fortt, based on their injuries. Butler has finally started to work with trainers off to the side during practices, which makes it look like he may be ready to come back from his undisclosed injury in the near future. Fortt might also be able to come back in the near future, but he seems like more of a candidate for an "injury redshirt" type of season since he didn't figure to play a lot as a rookie this season. I could certainly be wrong in both cases, though, since I don't have many specific details about their injuries. I was also very tempted to add undrafted rookie Kasim Edebali to the roster this week after he played a key role on special teams against the Colts. He's shown impressive ability in training camp. But I just couldn't find room for him with so many linebackers already playing key roles.
No changes here. Trevin Wade is a possibility. But now that these five guys are getting healthier, there might not be room for Wade on the roster.
Ball has missed the past few days with an injury, so his status is a little more in doubt. And that could open the door for impressive undrafted rookie Pierre Warren. But if Ball can come back soon, I'm sticking with him.
I've been sticking with Graham all along, so there was no reason to change after he and Derek Dimke both made all their kicks in Saturday's game at Indianapolis. Graham has had a couple hiccups this preseason/training camp though, so he hasn't locked down the job by any means.