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John DeShazier: Opportunity is pounding at Travaris Cadet's door

With Thomas and Robinson out he should see more action

The New Orleans Saints will enter Sunday's game against Green Bay down two at running back, and not just an ordinary duo.

Khiry Robinson (330 yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries) leads the team in yards and attempts, and Pierre Thomas (30 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns, and 26 receptions for 204 yards and a score) arguably is the most versatile back in franchise history in terms of rushing, receiving and blocking in the passing game.

Partially, what that means is that opportunity is pounding on Travaris Cadet's door for the nationally televised game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

Cadet answered last Sunday in Detroit, when he tied a career high with six receptions, for 51 yards, in the 24-23 loss to the Lions. He played a career high in snaps against Detroit, a number that possibly will be surpassed if he and Mark Ingram are left to share the load that would've been carried by Robinson and Thomas.

"At the end of the day it's football. We all dream of getting the opportunity to play and it's a dream to be in the NFL," Cadet said. "As long as you're going full speed every day, you've got the right demeanor, you're never getting complacent, you've got a chip on your shoulder, constantly trying to prove yourself – you'll be all right.

"In this league it's day to day. You've got to continue to work, continue to get better. You're a professional now."

And being a professional means being subjected to a professional critique, even on a career-high tying day.

"I think I did some good things, I think there are some things I did that I need to learn from," he said. "As I get more reps it becomes more natural. When you're out there with live bullets, you tend to learn more than when you go back to the drawing board and you see what you made mistake on and what you did good.

"But I'm never satisfied, I never want to get complacent. I just want to continue working and continue to get better every day."

That improvement appears to be on the increase. Cadet has progressed from primarily being a kick returner as a rookie, to having that role diminished last season as Darren Sproles mostly handled that duty, to now being counted on as a contributor to the passing game.

His 16 receptions for 134 yards account for 70 and 73 percent of his career totals (23 catches for 183 yards).

"He did a good job, not only on the passing downs but he did a good job in his protection," Coach Sean Payton said of Cadet's play against Detroit. "(On Kenny) Stills' big play, (a 46-yard touchdown reception), he comes across in a key protection and picks up a pressure off the slot. He's a smart player, he's got good instincts.

"I think (protection) is something he has had to develop. He came here with a little bit more of a receiver background."

That could be the primary role he plays against the Packers, too, with Ingram handling the majority of the rushing attempts.

"The receiving side of it, I know I can produce in that area," Cadet said. "When I did play (in college, at Appalachian State), mostly, it was either quarterback or receiver in college. When I got to the league, I knew that my role pretty much in this offense was going to be a receiving role. That's the role the Saints had me in from Day 1.

"But I'm not one-dimensional, I can run the ball as well, I can return kicks. When Darren was here I learned from him and now that he's gone I still learn from him, because we still talk on a day-to-day basis. Every day I'm looking for keys to enhance my game, whether that's as a receiving role or a running back role."

Possibly, both roles will offer Cadet a chance to do just that Sunday night.

"We're in the type of league where when one of your guys goes down, you've got to step up," Cadet said. "I will step up and I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

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