Meet the faces of the 2016 Saints 53-man roster.
Whether or not you did, after a summer break that seemed shorter than that of the kids', Mailbag is back and ready to attempt to answer your questions to the best of my knowledge (which, admittedly, may appear to be limited at times).
Anyway, prepare your questions for submission beginning each Wednesday, and our goal is to post as many of them as we possibly can from the 'bag each Friday. Here we go…
@SimplySaidKat: Three QBs, or stay with two?
JD: I guess you know by now: Two on the 53-man roster, one on practice squad. In recent seasons the Saints have gone with three (Drew Brees, Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin at one time, and Brees, McCown and Garrett Grayson at another) on the 53-man, but the third hasn't been active or a factor on gameday. Brees and McCown seem to be enough for a game and, obviously, if either was injured and couldn't play, Grayson could be signed off the practice squad. But Brees has been so durable – one game missed due to injury in 10 seasons as a Saint – that a third quarterback has been more luxury than necessity.
@5_bluejayh24: Will C.J. Spiller or Tommylee Lewis be returning kickoffs this Sunday? Because I know Travaris Cadet did it in the past.
JD: I'm sure Marcus Murphy is thrilled by your vote of confidence (lol). My guess is that Murph will be returning punts and kickoffs; he did a pretty good job of both in the preseason, when he held on to the ball. Spiller and Lewis each is capable, but Murph handled the duties all last season until he went on injured reserve and he looked to be the front-runner in preseason. Now, if he puts the ball on the ground, let's just say he might be better off running to the locker room than to the sideline. If Murph falters, my guess is that Spiller would be next man up because of his experience.
@brees4l1fe: Will Willie Snead be the No. 2 receiver?
JD: Well, he pretty much was last season, so there's no reason to believe he doesn't begin this season in that role. However, it's important to note that the Saints, like most teams, run a ton of three-receiver sets and they'll use at least four receivers per game. So the snaps have a way of evening out. Rookie Michael Thomas obviously will be in the mix, but if the snap count for the second and third receivers essentially is the same, it doesn't much matter what the designation is, as long as they produce when the opportunity presents itself.
@cactusvenom: How much will Travaris Cadet be incorporated into the offense this year?
JD: That's a really good question, and I don't have a really good answer. I don't know where his snaps will come on a six-back team. Mark Ingram is your starter, C.J. Spiller is your change-up back (who also is a former 1,000-yard rusher), Tim Hightower possesses many of the same skills as Ingram and Marcus Murphy looks like he'd fill the Spiller role if Spiller needs a breather. Daniel Lasco will make his mark on special teams as a gunner. So, I just don't know where Cadet fits. He was fantastic down the stretch last season as a returner and as a jack-of-all-trades back, and he knows this offense as well as any running back. But how much or little action he'll see in the offense, I'm as interested in seeing that as you are.
@dylan_scifo: What's the word on tight end Coby Fleener? Will the Saints try to use him as much as they did Jimmy Graham and Benjamin Watson?
JD: Dylan, you already know the answer to this one. You saw the reported contract numbers associated with the Fleener deal. You know that those numbers aren't given to a guy who's not going to be used. So, of course, the Saints intend for Fleener to be a down-the-seam threat and a big part of their offense. He still has some acclimation to do; he and Drew Brees aren't totally on the same page yet, not to the degree that Brees was with Graham and Watson. But it's a process that, hopefully, will accelerate with more familiarity and specific gameplanning. Fleener is a talent; few teams have shown the ability to apply a tight end's talent better than have the Saints.