Saints Must Exploit Matchups Against Injury-Riddled Seahawks

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Offensive Issues

Sep 18, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looses the ball as he is sacked by Los Angeles Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (94) during the first half of a NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest factors that has kept Seattle from getting on track offensively are the injuries to Russell Wilson.

The All-Pro quarterback, known for his elusiveness in the pocket, and his ability to create big plays, has beens severely limited by injuries, suffering an MCL sprain, an ankle injury, and now is playing through some issues with his right pectoral.

These injuries have especially impacted his ability to scramble. To make matters worse for the Seahawks, they might be without their starting left tackle Bradley Sowell who is also dealing with a knee injury.

Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) gets up after a play during the game against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Giants 52-49. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

If he is unable to make the start, Seattle will turn to undrafted free agent George Fant, who would be starting his first game at that particular spot since he was a  little kid.

Let me say that again, the Saints might be facing a left tackle, the man responsible for protecting Wilson’s blindside, who hasn’t started a game since his days back in the Pee Wee Leagues (5-6-7 year olds).

The Saints defense MUST take advantage of a banged up offensive line and a limited Russell Wilson.

This is an ideal opportunity for Cam Jordan to get back on track this year, and start applying some pressure to the quarterback.

One thing that you can be absolutely certain of is that if the Saints fail to generate any real “heat” on Wilson, then he will look early and often for former Saints All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham.

Nov 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) celebrates after a third quarter reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Pittsburgh, 39-30. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Graham is playing a lot like he did in New Orleans, where he caught 386 passes for 4,752 yards and 51 TDs in five years. In the past four games that he has played just recently, he has 23 catches for 355 yards and a TD.

It will be up to Saints 4th year strong safety and vocal team leader Kenny Vaccaro to shadow Graham for most of this contest; and given that just in the last two weeks alone that he has done a solid job in limiting All-Pro tight ends Greg Olsen of the Panthers and Travis Kelce of the Chiefs in successive weeks, Vaccato should be up to the task.

But guarding Graham — as Vaccaro will be tasked to do in most pass coverage situations — is an entirely different matter; and Vaccaro will have to give a “lights out” performance to at least keep his former teammate and friend somewhat in check; and prevent him from doing any serious damage.

However, Graham is still one of the game’s best tight ends despite his decrease in numbers; and the added factor of playing against the team that traded him, should add an extra layer of intrigue to tomorrow’s contest.