COMMENTARY | One year ago, New Orleans Saints running back Travaris Cadet was the talk of the preseason among fans. The back was everywhere and seemed destined for greatness within the high-powered Saints offense.
Now, a year later, Cadet's roster spot could be in jeopardy. So far in two preseason games this year, Cadet has managed just 35 rushing yards on 18 attempts. More surprising is the fact that he has caught only three passes for 22 yards. With two fumbles in his last game, things are clearly not going as well for Cadet in his second preseason.
Of course, 2012 was a different story. As the Saints eased into action for the first time following "Bountygate," Cadet took off running and surprised everyone. He led the team with 30 receptions and 246 receiving yards during the preseason, while his two touchdown catches tied for the team lead. Adding 39 carries and 132 rushing yards, Cadet earned his roster spot and made himself impossible to cut.
Unfortunately, for Cadet, last year is in the past. What hurts more is that coach Sean Payton wasn't around in 2012, due to his suspension. As impressive as Cadet may have been in the past, Payton is back and will be evaluating the talent as he sees it right now. Consequently, he will pick the best 53 players that he has available.
New seasons bring new players, and, this year, the Saints' staff has once again discovered another undrafted offensive gem in Khiry Robinson. Looking as impressive as Cadet was in 2012 so far, Robinson currently leads the team with 102 rushing yards through two games. Although the receivers are seeing most of the passes this preseason, Robinson does lead all running backs with 43 receiving yards. Robinson's numbers and his play obviously do not help Cadet's case.
According to Katherine Terrell of The New Orleans Times-Picayune, Cadet sees this as his "second rookie season." Playing in front of Payton for the first time has brought back the pressure of being a rookie again. Likely battling Robinson for a final running back spot on the roster, Cadet knows that last year's preseason success doesn't mean so much in the present.
Robinson has a history of success, and the Saints are fortunate to have him in camp. In two seasons at West Texas A&M, Robinson rushed for 2,290 yards and 26 scores. He also added 60 catches for 612 yards, totaling nearly 3,000 yards of offense. However, he may not be as capable as Cadet when it comes to performing at the NFL level.
Cadet does have one thing going for him, and that is a small sample of success in the regular season. He caught five passes for 44 yards out of the backfield last year, but he also contributed 690 kick return yards as well. Just because Payton wasn't on the sideline, he was watching and has surely seen what Cadet brings to the table.
Cadet has two more games to make his case for a roster spot in 2013 and prove he can help this team win. More than just serving as insurance for running back Darren Sproles, Cadet can be used in combination with the current backs to provide yet another weapon for quarterback Drew Brees to utilize.
Over the next two weeks, Cadet should win this battle and earn a spot on this team.
Mike Patton grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance.
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