While their opponent has added a pair of contributors in DeAndre Hopkins and Robbie Anderson, the Saints will come into Thursday down five more starters than they were hoping for, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Injuries continue to plague New Orleans as it has ruled out wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, tight end Adam Trautman, guard Andrus Peat, and cornerback Marshon Lattimore.
Peat suffered a pectoral strain, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Saints have not placed the eighth-year blocker on IR, but he is week-to-week at this point. Thomas also remains on the team’s active roster, but the team considered placing him on IR due to the foot injury he sustained, Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com tweets. The Saints instead opted to keep Thomas active in case he beat his recovery timetable. After missing just two games over his first four seasons, Thomas has now missed 28 games since 2020.
The Saints, who were hoping to get back Thomas from a three-week absence and Landry from a two-week absence, will now go into their Week 7 matchup with the Cardinals missing two of their starting slate of receivers for the third week in a row. Rookie first-round pick Chris Olave is set to return after missing time last week with a concussion that knocked him out of the team’s Week 5 win over the Seahawks.
Olave is set to see a huge share of targets with Thomas and Landry out, as will backup receivers Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith. Behind star running back Alvin Kamara and Juwan Johnson, who transitioned to tight end in the NFL after playing wide receiver at Penn State, Callaway and Smith were the top targets last week for Andy Dalton, who has been filling in for injured starting quarterback Jameis Winston. When Olave was in the week before, he matched Kamara for the team lead in targets with six apiece. Smith and Callaway trailed the two with four and three, respectively.
Lattimore is also set to miss his second straight game with an abdomen injury. In his absence last week, the Saints asked veteran Bradley Roby to fill in opposite Paulson Adebo as a starting cornerback. They’re also able to get some help at corner from the practice squad with veteran defensive back Chris Harris who has been called up for two games so far this year.
The Saints will have tough hill to climb in a game that could be a big step in staying in the thick of the NFC South race. The five missing starters will be in addition to the nine players currently recovering on injured reserve. If New Orleans can keep the division in reach until it starts getting big contributors back on the field, the Saints could have a path back to the playoffs after missing out last year.