New Orleans Saints cornerback Delvin “Chip” Breaux has been getting some good press after the last set of organized team activities.
Not only has his one-handed interception of quarterback Drew Brees been widely talked about, but his technique and coverage skills as well.
Unless Breaux regresses drastically then as of right now he looks to be in good shape to make the final roster for the Saints and be a primary backup to either Kennan Lewis or Brandon Browner.
One player who may not be in good shape is Stanley Jean-Baptiste since, unlike Breaux, you have heard almost zero on since media access was allowed at OTA’s just a few weeks ago.
Reports came that Baptiste definitely looked different and maybe a little improved since his freshman outing with being more fluid in the hips and being able to turn and run with a receiver.
After that first week though there has been nothing else heard about the “project” cornerback the Saints used a second round pick on in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Jun 11, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (33) during minicamp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
In the NFL, unlike in the regular world, no news does not signal good news when it comes to player performance.
Expectations for Baptiste have been high and understandably that isn’t his fault and those expectations were made even higher with the Saints cornerback conundrum last season.
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But Baptiste won’t get a pass from the team in the business-minded NFL that is all about “win now” and as former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert preaches, “What have you done for me lately?”
The next few months leading up to the preseason game on August 12th against the Baltimore Ravens will be extremely critical for Baptiste because honestly he really can’t afford a sophomore slump.
The one thing I keep hearing about over and over is that there are players on this current Saints roster that will be able to start or play for other NFL teams if they are cut…there’s that much talent.
That makes the pressure and competition at not just the cornerback spot but every position even more intense.
May 29, 2014; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste (33) during offseason team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The Saints generally keep on average five cornerbacks on their final roster which if you hypothetically factor in Lewis, Browner, and Breaux then that leaves two spots.
That’s a small window that Baptiste is working with when it comes to staying afloat until the season starts.
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Another disadvantage is that the other corners in front of him have more actual playing time than he does.
The game in Week 7 last season verses the Detroit Lions was the only time he saw the field and it was for only eight snaps…and there’s a reason why he didn’t play any after that.
Undrafted rookie Brian Dixon and journeyman Terrence Frederick received more playing time than Baptiste did with Dixon playing in thirteen games and Frederick in three.
While not much has been heard from them either at OTA’s, they each are still stumbling blocks for Baptiste to make the roster.
May 28, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback P.J. Williams (36) during organized team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Also standing in the way is veteran corner Kyle Wilson and rookies P.J. Williams and Damian Swann.
Wilson has been reported as running with the first team during OTA’s as the nickel corner and has had up’s and down’s.
Williams has been mainly running with the second team at nickel and like Wilson has had his hot and cold moments during practice while Swann has been held out of OTA’s recently with an injury.
And speaking of the nickel spot, I don’t see Baptiste going there either given his size since head coach Sean Payton will want to put the longer and bigger corners on the outside.
While the situation Baptiste finds himself in is pretty tight, he still has time to overcome it and make the necessary improvements.
In the past we’ve seen the Saints, or mainly Payton, almost stubbornly hang onto a player to try to make it work.
But with the team dedicated to change and the door slowly beginning to close for the Saints on winning another championship, Baptiste is on one of the hottest seats in the building…..