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A RECURRING THEME: Saints Cornerback Issues Rear Their Ugly Head in Los Angeles

When it was announced yesterday that the Saints were going to be without the services of starting #1 CB Delvin Breaux for at least the first 6 weeks (give or take) of the upcoming 2017 season, it meant that the rest of the team's cornerback group as a whole would have to "step up" to compensate for Breaux's absence.

After some dicey moments in last week's Pre-Season loss at Cleveland and then once again this afternoon during the 1st of two joint practices against the L.A. Chargers at their Training Camp facility in Costa Mesa, California, it would appear that taking that "step up" will be more like a 'work in progress'.

The recurring theme of injuries, as well as problems with providing effective man-to-man and zone coverage in obvious passing situations, has once again put the Saints' on-going issues at cornerback back into the headlines for what is the 3rd time this week.

Photo courtesy of Jason Miller, Getty Images

While rookie top-draft pick Marshon Lattimore looked good in individual one-on-one WR vs. CB drills for New Orleans, it was when the Saints and Chargers faced off in 11-on-11 team drills (equal to live action plays during a game) that the Saints CB issues once again reared their ugly head.

Chargers QB Phillip Rivers "sliced and diced" the Saints pass coverage at one point, which included a play where Chargers #1 WR Keenan Allen absolutely SMOKED presumptive new Saints #1 CB P.J. Williams on a fade route for a long TD reception, prompting this joke Tweet by the Chargers Twitter account.

After that play, Williams followed it up with a defensive holding penalty, before Rivers came his way again and earned anther pass completion.

It was indicative yet once again, of the valid concerns and trepidation that Saints fans still have heading into the season in 3 and a ½ more weeks from now, about the cornerback position --- and how it could ultimately be the thorn in the side of a Saints defense that has finished ranked at or near the bottom of the NFL now, for 4 of the past 5 years.

Now to be fair, the Saints did have some "bright moments" for their CB's during today's first joint practice. On one play, 2nd year player Ken Crawley provided some good coverage on a fade route in the end zone.

On another, Williams made a near-interception (but dropped it) on one of the very few poorly thrown passes on the day by Rivers.

But all in all, it was not an encouraging day for Saints defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn and his young CB group. There are many things that need to be corrected, the least of which appear to be blown coverages that always seem to happen in obvious passing situations.

Now it's important to note: this is "only practice", and the Saints still have some time to get their problems worked out before the season opener on Monday Night, September 11th, at Minnesota against the Vikings.

But given all of the things that have happened just in the past year with the Saints cornerback position, today's events were not something that will make fans feel any better.

Hopefully, that will somehow change between now and that season-opening Monday Night in Minneapolis.......

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Saints News Network Editor / Featured Columnist Barry Hirstius is a 51-year old semi-retired journalist, former New Orleans-area sports editor, and columnist previously with several sites that exclusively cover the New Orleans Saints football team. Additionally, he is a recurring guest on a variety of local Sports Talk Radio programs. Barry is also a New Orleans native who grew up as a fan of the team while attending games as a young boy at the old Tulane Stadium in the early 1970’s, originally following and now covering the team for a span of over 40 plus years. And perhaps most importantly of all: he is the Grandfather of two beautiful young girls, Jasmine and Serenity.....

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