Sep 11, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints guard Jahri Evans (73) and center Max Unger (60) block Oakland Raiders defensive end Jihad Ward (95) in the second half of their game against the Oakland Raiders at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Raiders won, 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
The Saints O-Line was easily the most scrutinized area of the offense this past off season and well into the preseason, and with very good reasons.
The biggest off season change here was a subtraction: the release of veteran mainstay right guard Jahri Evans back in February.
But Evans was subsequently re-signed after being released by Seattle, when the Saints struggled to find an adequate replacement for him. This may have been the team’s least talked about move, but among the most important.
His addition back into the lineup immediately solidified the O-Line. During the Saints first eight games they have faced some formidable pass rushers, but yet they have given Drew Brees a pretty consistently clean pass pocket. The run blocking has been a bit erratic at times, but does seem to be strengthening with each week.
The health of left tackle Terron Armstead is of concern to the team, as is their depth if the Saints were to suffer any significant injuries across the line. Call me a skeptic here, but Armstead’s health is a Serious concern, as are the ages of Evans and right tackle Zach Strief.
Yes, the line has played extremely well, but they will still be facing the likes of Von Miller and the Denver Broncos, Carolina’s front seven, and a very aggressive defense in Arizona down the stretch. Nevertheless, we should grade the line’s first half performance as a B-, primarily because they have surpassed the expectations of most.