Saints Handling O-Line Shuffling

New Orleans Saints Sean Payton Drew Brees Getty Images

It remains to be seen exactly what group will make up the New Orleans Saints' offensive line when they face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.

They have used four different combinations through eight games and haven't shown any adverse effects from the injury-induced instability.

A second injury to left tackle Terron Armstead during the 30-10 victory over Tampa Bay last Sunday necessitated the most recent juggling. Left guard Andrus Peat moved into Armstead's position and reserve Josh LeRibeus stepped in at left guard.

The Saints were already playing without right guard Larry Warford and right tackle Zach Strief, but they still rank second in the NFL in total offense, seventh in rushing offense and fourth in passing offense, and they have allowed the fewest sacks.

If Armstead, who missed the first four games of the season while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, can't play because of the chest injury he suffered last week, New Orleans (6-2) likely will start the same combination that finished the victory against the Bucs, which it hasn't started previously. The Saints have won six games in a row.

Saints, Bills Aim To Continue Unexpected Pushes - Thumbnail Image

Saints, Bills Aim To Continue Unexpected Pushes

Senio Kelemete has started the last two games in place of Warford and rookie Ryan Ramczyk has started the last four in place of Strief.

"(Rearranging the offensive line) is a challenging thing to do," quarterback Drew Brees said Wednesday, "but I credit our preparation throughout the offseason and preseason, training camp to almost preparing guys to do that. I can remember in camp all of a sudden being like, hey you go here, you go here and you go here, and it's like, why are we doing that? And it's like, well, you never know. And here we are.

"We've been in situations where guys have had to play multiple positions and flip-flop in the middle of the game because a guy goes down. I think it's just a testament to their preparation, a testament to the coaches in getting them ready to do that as well. And I think just the confidence in what we're calling and the scheme. I think the mindset is, hey, we're not going to miss a beat, just keep rolling ahead."

The line will be facing a Buffalo defense that ranks eighth against the run, but just 26th against the pass, though it is fifth in terms of opposing passer rating (76.6).

"We've done a good job of rotating in practice," center Max Unger said "We've had some moving parts. For the most part everyone's been right on the same page. (Offensive line) coach (Dan) Roushar's done a good job of breaking it down and getting people experience in places that they haven't naturally been. I think everybody's been able to adapt to it."


11th regular-season meeting. Saints lead series 6-4, including a 35-17 victory in the last meeting in 2013 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans has won three of the four meetings in Buffalo, including a 27-7 win in the last meeting there in 2009.


New Orleans' defense has 23 sacks, tying it for 10th most in the NFL. Halfway through the season that's a dramatic improvement over last season, when the Saints finished with 30 sacks. "Guys are holding up on the back end really well and it's making our pass rushers get there," linebacker Craig Robertson said. "Even when we don't hold it up as well, our pass rushers are getting there. So it's just kind of feeding off each other and letting things go."


The Saints have played well on the road, winning their last three away from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after losing the season opener at Minnesota. That includes a 20-0 victory against Miami in London on Oct. 1. Now they'll face a Bills team that is 4-0 at home.


The Saints have allowed more than 17 points just once during their six-game win streak, but the Bills have scored 20 or more points in 13 consecutive home games.


After not committing a turnover in any of their first four games, the Saints have committed at least one in each of their last four games and a total of nine. At plus-3 for the season, they are tied for 10th in the NFL in turnover differential. The Bills rank first at plus-11 and they have committed just six turnovers, third fewest.


DE Cameron Jordan is tied for 10th in the NFL with seven sacks, just a half-sack short of his team-leading total from last season. Jordan, who has had at least a half-sack in six of eight games this season, is on pace to surpass his career high of 12.5 in 2013.

T Terron Armstead (chest) did not participate in practice Wednesday.

S Kenny Vaccaro (groin) did not participate.

G Larry Warford (abdomen) was a limited participant.

WR Michael Thomas (ankle) was limited.

DE Alex Okafor (ankle) was limited.

Copyright © 2017 TTWN Media Networks LLC Photo: Getty Images

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content