Friday, May 22, 2009

Saints Nation: Meachem and Arrington have golden opportunity

The top two star receivers for the Saints [Lance Moore (shoulder) and Marques Colston (knee)] are limited in this week's OTA's due to recovery from injuries. What that means is besides healthy veteran Devery Henderson, no one stands in the way of youngsters Robert Meachem (pictured above) and Adrian Arrington getting reps with the first team. Both guys took full advantage, according to's Mike Triplett, as they exhibited flashes of big play ability throughout yesterday's practice (story here).

What many people who have never played football may not realize is that reps with the first team is the only way to really gauge progress, so this is a huge opportunity for these guys. When you're running plays with the backups you're on the field with other guys that might not understand the system, you're lined up against weaker players on the other side of the ball than what you'd see on Sundays, and you get much less time on the practice field as the starters. If Meachem is beating guys like Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter consistently (which the article suggests), that is going to turn the heads of the coaching staff much more than Meachem beating Leigh Torrence on the handful of reps with backups. The article also suggests that Arrington made a terrific touchdown catch in traffic on a pass from Brees, and again that pass coming from Brees is much more to Arrington's benefit than if it were coming from Joey Harrington.

So far so good for these young receivers but there is a long way to go. That said, once Moore and Colston come back there will be less reps and less opportunities to show the coaching staff that they can trust them. So while you always want to look at offseason training as a marathon and not a sprint, Meachem and Arrington may not see another opportunity to practice with the 1st team this season. In my mind they're auditioning for trust and playing time during the season every moment they are out there with the starting unit. They need to seize this moment if they want to play a part in the success of the 2009 Saints.

PS. I know it's early, very very early, but is anyone else concerned that our #4 and #5 receivers are repeatedly beating our starting corners? Didn't we address this issue?