Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saints Nation: Injuries at tight end mounting

Depth at tight end is starting to get extremely thin for the Saints, and surprisingly it's not because of oft-injured starter Jeremy Shockey. Currently the Saints top 3 backups, Billy Miller (pictured), Dan Campbell and Darnell Dinkins, are all out with injuries that have varying degrees of seriousness.

Current status for each injury are as follows:

Billy Miller is also suffering from knee issues that have kept him out of practice for the last week, including the first preseason game. He is listed as day to day, but continued pain and swelling have delayed his return to practice.

Campbell is out for the season after having been placed on IR with a knee injury, so his season is already over.

Dinkins had what looked to be a severe ankle sprain in the preseason game against the Bengals. He's officially listed as out for 1 to 2 weeks, but this injury could easily linger past the start of the regular season.

This leaves the Saints with Buck Ortega, free agent rookie Jermey Parnell (moved from Defensive End to Tight End due to the injuries) and recently signed Martrez Milner as the primary backups. To say these guys are unproven is a larger understatement than saying you see a little bit of Brett Favre news in the media. Hard to see one of those 3 stepping up and really making a significant impact, which means the Saints cannot afford an injury to Jeremy Shockey in the slightest. It's scary to think the Saints are relying on Shockey's health more than ever, but it's come to that. Billy Miller and Dinkins will hopefully recover and be healthy for the start of the season, but with the possibility of a lengthy recovery and the possibility of a set back for either player, it may be imprudent to count on. The cupboard at tight end is looking bare in Who Dat Nation, and ultimately the longer this position is hampered the longer it will be that we'll see a guy like Derrick Brooks signed. This has to be a major concern as the season approaches, and we'll see if the Saints add a veteran - or if Dinkins/Miller can recover. As the weeks pass, if these guys stay on the treadmill, it will become more and more necessary to add a veteran tight end to the mix.