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GMoney2600
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Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2005
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Through 2 weeks, Saints still haven't protected a practice squad player
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The second week of the NFL regular season is in full swing, and the New Orleans Saints have again chosen not to protect any of the 16 players on their practice squad. After appearing in the season-opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both defensive lineman Margus Hunt (21 snaps on defense, 4 on special teams) and wide receiver Bennie Fowler (7 snaps on offense, 12 on special teams) reverted to the practice squad. They can each be called up one more time before they must be signed to the roster full-time.

So the decision to not protect any of their practice squad players is, on its surface, puzzling. Teams have the option this year to block up to four players from being poached by other teams each week; it’s a first-year change along with the expanded practice squads (which grew to 16 from 12, as ruled in the new CBA and adjusted for the COVID-19 pandemic). But Saints coach Sean Payton put some thought into how much he’s willing to give away on the daily transactions wire.

“Yeah, a number of teams didn’t. We were one of them and just chose to go that route,” Payton said in his Sept. 11 conference call. “There’s pros and cons. Obviously, you put a protection tag on someone, you’re alerting 31 other teams maybe of a player that that you might have plans for. I think it’s just one of those things where I don’t know how many teams, 14 or 15, but I know we weren’t the only ones [to not issue protections].”

Ahead of Week 2, all but 12 teams chose to protect at least one practice squad member from poaching; the Kansas City Chiefs protected defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett, while the Minnesota Vikings blocked kicker Chase McLaughlin. So they aren’t as worried about tipping their hand.

We’ll see whether the Saints choose to activate any players from the practice squad again this week. As Payton suggested, opting to not protect anyone during the week could give teams an edge on game day once it’s time to whittle down the roster for players who can dress out.

That’s a player the opposing team wouldn’t have studied game film for. And it clearly paid off for the Saints, when Hunt blocked a field goal and Fowler recovered a fumbled ball. Maybe it’s a stunt they can pull off again.


Big Sway
LSU Fan
Member since Nov 2009
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re: Through 2 weeks, Saints still haven't protected a practice squad player
I think it's better for the player to get signed. Better overall IMO.Our roster is set so why not.


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Hot Carl
LSU Fan
You get what you pay for
Member since Dec 2005
49165 posts

re: Through 2 weeks, Saints still haven't protected a practice squad player
I get the strategy of not giving anything away, but wouldn’t the snaps Hunt and Fowler played in the actual game Sunday be more revealing than their not being protected on the P.S.? Seems like the cat is already out of the bag on those 2 anyway.


trex1250
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Roswell
Member since Jun 2007
494 posts
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re: Through 2 weeks, Saints still haven't protected a practice squad player
Which I could upvote this more than once.


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Weekend Warrior79
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Member since Aug 2014
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re: Through 2 weeks, Saints still haven't protected a practice squad player
quote:

Teams have the option this year to block up to four players from being poached by other teams each week

, you put a protection tag on someone, you’re alerting 31 other teams maybe of a player that that you might have plans for

Is there a limit on how often you can protect a player? Couldn't you protect the same player every week?

quote:

They can each be called up one more time before they must be signed to the roster full-time

On the surface, this appears to be a good change for the players, but probably will ultimately just limit their opportunities on game days.


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