Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saints Nation: Will Smith and Charles Grant won't be in uniform for season's first 4 games

After much fanfare and conflicting rulings, Charles Grant and Will Smith will officially be suspended for the first 4 games of the season (story here). Very tough news for the Saints and tough news for these two recently underperforming players. Now they'll have 12 games to improve on their dismal effort last season. Both players tested positive for a masking agent after taking StarCaps, though the "water pill" in question did not label the banned substance on it's list of ingredients. Former Saint Deuce McAllister is in the same boat as well and will not see the field with any new team till week 5. 

The Saints will likely start Bobby McCray, who did a nice job filling in for Charles Grant last season, and newly added free agent Paul Spicer for the first four games. While these players can hold down the fort as the Saints await the return of their horses, the Saints can ill afford anything happening to these two. The depth behind McCray and Spicer is spotty at best, and counting on any one of those backups for an extended number of plays could leave the Saints extremely vulnerable. I would expect this news to secure roster spots for backups Jeff Charleston and Rob Ninkovich, at least through four games, barring any future additions. Recently acquired Anthony Hargrove has also seen his chances of making the opening day roster go up significantly. Those are the names of the 5 guys behind Grant and Smith, so I would expect the Saints to maybe add another defensive end at some point in the offseason to cushion the blow. As other teams start to trim their rosters deeper into training camp, you can bet the Saints will be looking for capable defensive ends. As it currently stands, the foursome of McCray-Spicer-Charleston-Ninkovich rotating is hardly what I consider fear striking. At least we know McCray will do a good job rushing the passer, and we know Spicer will do a good job against the run. For the rest we're going to have to hope that these guys can outperform themselves in the absence of 2 of the highest paid players in New Orleans Saints history.