NFL

New Orleans Saints continue to be hindered by covid-19

With several of the coaching staff already out due to league protocols, the Saints have now lost a further two.

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New Orleans Saints continue to be hindered by covid-19
GRANT HALVERSON AFP

As the Saints approach their game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, The list of assistant coaches not with them has grown.

Who is out?

The Saints who have already lost several of their staff due to covid-19 protocols announced that defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and pass rush specialist Brian Young will not be with the team for their second game of the season. The defensive staff will now be responsible for Nielsen's and Young's duties. In addition the team stated that offensive line coach Brendan Nugent will be with the club in Carolina. With this unfortunate news the total number of coaches unavailable this week stands at eight. The Saints will also have to deal with the absence of at least three starters because of injuries as they look to claim their second win of the season.

Defensive end Marcus Davenport (shoulder) and linebacker Kwon Alexander (elbow) were both placed on injured reserve Friday. They will be out for a minimum of three weeks. Center Erik McCoy (calf) and backup linebackers Pete Werner (hamstring) and Chase Hansen (groin) were also ruled out for Sunday's game. Hansen was officially placed on injured reserve Saturday. Additionally there is also the situation surrounding Pro Bowl corner back Marshon Lattimore who was listed as 'inactive' following surgery on his thumb earlier this week. Head coach Sean Payton has said the the corner back will be a "game-time decision."

What exactly is the status of the coaches?

As of Friday the coaches who were listed as unavailable after testing positive for covid-19, were Wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson, tight ends coach Dan Roushar, running backs coach Joel Thomas, offensive analyst Jim Chaney, offensive assistant Declan Doyle and special teams assistant Phil Galiano. Payton had previously state that all the coaches were vaccinated, such that they could return to work upon receiving two negative tests 24 hours apart.

How has coach Payton responded?

Commenting on the head coach, Saints left tackle Terron Armstead had this to say, "he's been kind of getting back into his early days." "He's running around. He's coaching every position," Armstead stated. "I think he's having a great time embracing the challenge of missing some great minds in our coaching staff. He's leaning on some of the older guys and veterans to help out where he sees fit. But his energy's been up. And that's Sean. He's never one to use any situation as an excuse, and that type of approach rubs off on a team."

The Panthers will be a handful

Without doubt corner back Marshon Lattimore - if he plays - will be critical to Panther's cause. They face a division rival who boasts exceptional wide receivers in DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. On the flip side, the Saints will field experienced corner back Bradley Roby for the first time on Sunday having acquired him in a trade with the Houston Texans last week. Rookie corner back Paulson Adebo who impressed in his debut - intercepting a pass from Packers QB Aaron Rodgers - will also play.

Other team news

With the Saints seemingly unable to catch a break where absences are concerned, it's no surprise that there are others.Starting safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (knee) and reserve defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon (calf) and reserve defensive back P.J. Williams (back) have all been listed as questionable ahead of Sunday night's game. The Saints have subsequently taken the step of promoting four players from the practice squad to the active roster: defensive back Jordan Miller, linebacker Wynton McManis, center Austin Reiter and defensive end Jalyn Homes.