In just a few days, the New Orleans Saints will be in training camp mode. Rookies will report on July 19, while the veterans report a week later on July 26. Naturally, a big draw for this season is the return to the team’s practice facility in Metairie. Before we get to what promises to be an entertaining period, here’s some of the biggest storylines we’ll be watching, and some questions we’d like answered over the next several weeks.
Will the succession plan for Nick Fairley be enough?
Fans were on pins and needles awaiting the final word on the veteran defensive tackle’s future, and the final ruling was that Fairley would be shelved for 2017. Tony McDaniel was signed by the team during minicamp, so the assumption is that he’s going into training camp to compete. He’ll pen in as a Kevin Williams-type, working primarily on first and second down. The Saints will obviously miss his presence in the middle, to the tune of 742 snaps for Dennis Allen in 2016. They’ll have to hope that both Tyeler Davison is fully recovered and good to go and that second-year player David Onyemata is ready for more work.
Who takes over for Terron Armstead at left tackle?
Rookie Ryan Ramczyk looks to be the biggest beneficiary of Armstead’s absence, but he’ll still have to earn his way to get the starting nod. Both veterans Khalif Barnes and Bryce Harris should provide some competition early on, but the expectation would be that Ramczyk distances himself quickly. The Saints have been hit hard in the injury department before the start of camp (Max Unger, Armstead, Fairley), so needless to say they can’t afford anymore…
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