Posted by Andy Benoit
The NFL announced today that there are still 30 other teams in its league, all of which play outside the Twin Cities and New England areas. One of those teams is the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. And the Saints have some news: star cornerback Tracy Porter is out 3-4 weeks.
Sean Payton announced that Porter recently underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Porter injured his knee against Carolina (he left the game but actually returned later). To fill his void, the Saints re-signed Leigh Torrence.
Porter’s absence could be extremely debilitating to New Orleans’ secondary. Yes, the secondary has performed well despite a few injuries already. Thanks to the emergence of Malcom Jenkins, the Saints have survived without free safety Darren Sharper. And last week, Usama Young showed solid playmaking prowess filling in for an injured Roman Harper. (Sharper, who has been recovering from microfracture knee surgery, remains on PUP another two weeks; Harper was limited in practice Wednesday with his hamstring problem).
The safeties are important in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ scheme, but thanks to the scheme’s attacking nature, the safeties’ limitation can be disguised fairly easily. That’s not the case with the cornerback position. Williams relies heavily on press coverage from his defenders outside. The Saints proved to be vulnerable when their starting corners were out last season.
Randall Gay will fill in at Porter’s spot opposite Jabari Greer. Gay has starting experience and should be fine, though he doesn’t have Porter’s fluid hips to thrive in underneath man coverage. More alarming is the hole that’s now at nickel corner. First-round rookie Patrick Robinson is likely to fill it, though he has been a disappointment – perhaps even major disappointment – thus far.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .