August 16, 2009

Saints respond to injuries at tight end; Parnell a two-way player?

The Saints' injury situation right now is forcing the team's hand when it comes to minor roster moves.

  • LB Marc Simoneau has been placed on injured reserve, ending his 2009 season. Simoneau suffered a triceps injury in the Saints' scrimmage last weekend and had surgery on it Thursday.

  • DE/DT Jermy Parnell, at 6'6, 278 pounds, is a much better athlete than football player right now, especially considering he played one year of football at Ole Miss. Parnell was a basketball player for the Rebels and hadn't played football since grade school when he gave it a shot as a senior. A forward for the Rebels, he also played two summers of basketball as an amateur athlete in China.

    So moving him to tight end isn't that big of a leap. The skill set needed to play forward in basketball isn't that different from the athleticism needed to play tight end in football, and the Saints had been playing him on the defense line to this point only to take advantage of what little experience he had at Ole Miss.

    Lets not get carried away, Parnell is not a lock to become the next Antonio Gates. The Saints are moving him to tight end for two reasons: recent injuries to Dan Campbell, Billy Miller and Darnell Dinkins have left the Saints thin at the position, and Parnell might have a better shot at making the team at tight end instead of at the bottom of a very deep defensive end depth chart. But neither of those reasons is going to guarantee him success.

    Friday night in the Superdome the Saints played most of the second half with only one tight end, Buck Ortega, after starter Jeremy Shockey played only the first half.

  • The Saints also signed former University of Georgia TE Martrez Milner, a former fourth round pick of the Falcons in 2004. After bouncing from Atlanta to both New York franchises for a while, he has been a free agent since his release from the Jets in June. At 6'4, 259, Milner has the size but little of the refinement to be an NFL tight end.

  • As for Dinkins, he is out of practice for now with an ankle injury when he was rolled up Friday night.

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