Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saints Nation: Starting Lineup by Position (Offense)

As the season approaches, I'm taking a look going into training camp at the Saints position by position.Below are our offensive starters.

QB: Drew Brees (pictured) is of course the unquestioned starter. The only real question is how the competition will shake out behind him, but barring injury Brees won't be leaving the field.

HB: In case there was any question last year, I think it's now set in stone that Pierre Thomas is the starter. Reggie Bush's role is becoming more clear with each passing season, and while he's a terrific playmaker, he's not a starter. That doesn't mean Reggie won't get his fair share of looks, though. Thomas is the main back that will carry the load. With Mike Bell gone he may even see increased reps. Don't forget about Lynell Hamilton either who will also see more snaps.

FB: If Heath Evans comes back healthy, the starting job is his without question. The Saints brought in Jason McKie for a reason, though, and he'll provide insurance if Evans' recovery gets delayed. McKie is a capable blocker and fullback, but the job is Evans' if he's 100%.

TE: Jeremy Shockey is still the main man, but this is the second straight offseason he's had health issues, combined with the fact that he always seems to be hanged up during the season. David Thomas is a very solid and capable backup, and don't forget the upside of Jimmy Graham. Still, you have to figure Shockey is the starter unless something significant changes.

C: Jonathan Goodwin will not only get competition from veteran Nick Leckey this year, but rookie Matt Tennant. Hard to see Goodwin supplanted based on the Pro Bowl type year he had, though.

LG: Carl Nicks. Period, end of story.

RG: Considering the fact that Jahri Evans rightfully became the highest paid offensive guard in the history of the NFL, I'd say his job is pretty secure.

LT: Jermon Bushrod will start the year, I would think, based on the fact that he started last year. Careful, though, because I'd say he's probably got the least secure hold on his job than any other starter on the Saints' offense. Zach Strief is a great backup, and honestly I think the difference between the two in terms of overall performance has been negligible. The Saints also drafted Charles Brown who will get a chance to compete.

RT: Jon Stinchcomb had his first Pro Bowl invite last year and arguably his best season as a Saint. The guy just keeps getting better every year. He's now a reliable and seasoned veteran. If the backups want to make some noise at tackle, they better vie for the left spot because Stinchcomb has the right on lockdown.

Check back tomorrow for the defensive starters.