Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan didn’t come right out and say it, but he hinted to the fact that rookie running back Travaris Cadet would not have made it through waivers had the New Orleans Saints released him and tried to get him back on their practice squad.
During the opposing head coaches' conference call, Times-Picayune writer Larry Holder reported, via Twitter, that Shanahan voiced his opinion on the Saints' move to keep five running backs.
One of the more excruciating decisions leading up to the Saints' final cut-down period to 53 players last week was what to do with their plethora of capable running backs.
Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram were relatively safe picks to make the final roster. Chris Ivory and Travaris Cadet were competing for what was thought to be the final spot on the running backs depth chart.
And what a competition it was.
In five games, Ivory gained 154 yards on 41 carries and Cadet 132 yards on 39 carries. Cadet added 30 receptions for 246 yards and two touchdowns.
In a perfect world, the Saints would have released either Ivory or Cadet and later added him to their practice squad. To do that, per NFL rules, the Saints would have had to subject whoever they released to the waivers process where any team could claim him.
New Orleans decided to play it safe and keep both Ivory and Cadet, protecting them from the waivers process. Shanahan’s statement confirms the Saints made a very wise decision.
The first thing that crossed my mind—and apparently I wasn’t the only writer whose mind works this way—was to laugh and think Shanahan wasn’t speaking in generalities but of his Redskins.
OK, so I’m not an original thinker. But at least my thoughts aren’t way off target. And neither were Shanahan’s.
The Redskins weren’t likely the only team that was ready to pounce—if in truth Washington was one of the teams Shanahan was eluding to—on either Ivory or Cadet. If the Saints had released one of these running backs, the team likely wouldn’t have gotten him back.
And that’s a good thing, because both showed promise during preseason play, and even though the Saints backfield is jam-packed with talent, when was the last time New Orleans made it through a season with a completely healthy backfield?
The extra depth will come in handy.