The Saints who have already lost several of their staff due to covid-19 protocols announced that defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen and pass rush specialist Brian Young will not be with the team for their second game of the season. The defensive staff will now be responsible for Nielsen’s and Young’s duties. In addition the team stated that offensive line coach Brendan Nugent will be with the club in Carolina. With this unfortunate news the total number of coaches unavailable this week stands at eight. The Saints will also have to deal with the absence of at least three starters because of injuries as they look to claim their second win of the season.
Defensive end Marcus Davenport (shoulder) and linebacker Kwon Alexander (elbow) were both placed on injured reserve Friday. They will be out for a minimum of three weeks. Center Erik McCoy (calf) and backup linebackers Pete Werner (hamstring) and Chase Hansen (groin) were also ruled out for Sunday’s game. Hansen was officially placed on injured reserve Saturday. Additionally there is also the situation surrounding Pro Bowl corner back Marshon Lattimore who was listed as ‘inactive’ following surgery on his thumb earlier this week. Head coach Sean Payton has said the the corner back will be a “game-time decision.”
Before the New Orleans Saints completed their first drive on offense in the season opener against Green Bay, center Erik McCoy limped off with a calf injury. Ruiz – drafted to play center last season but in at right guard because an injury slowed his progress at center, and because McCoy stamped his name on the position – quickly moved from right guard to center. And once Calvin Throckmorton came in to play right guard, the Saints’ offensive line was set in what became a 38-3 victory.
Ruiz, Mexico Chicago Bears I’m A Bears Fan For Life T-Shirt who had minimal reps at center this year in training camp, said it helped that he didn’t have time to stew over the change. He’ll likely remain in the position for the immediate future.
Especially when you get in like that,” he said Thursday, Sept. 16. “In a situation like that the last thing you want to do is come into a situation and think too much. So I was like, hey, ‘You gotta go.’ I’m not thinking about it, I’ve just got to do my job.
New Orleans had 322 yards on offense, was perfect (4 for 4) in the red zone, ran for 171 yards on 39 carries, didn’t allow a sack of quarterback Jameis Winston and bullied its way to 34:36 in time of possession.
Ruiz said he learned during the lead up to the game that he would be the backup center.
“At the beginning of the week, (offensive line) Coach (Brendan) Nugent told me, ‘Just be ready to play center in case, God forbid, anything happens or in the event that something happens to Erik. You’re going in at center,’ ” he said. “So I just knew that in the back of my head.
“It wasn’t like, ‘Surprise, you have to go play center.’ I knew if something happened to Erik I was going.