New Orleans Saints head coach Dennis Allen shared a positive update on injured quarterback Derek Carr, but he was short on updates for the team’s other significant loss on Sunday: starting right guard Cesar Ruiz.
Ruiz left the game after logging just 18 snaps and entered the NFL’s concussion protocol, and Allen said that the team will be monitoring his progress throughout the days ahead.
“He’s in the protocol,” Allen responded when asked about Ruiz’s status, repeating, “He’s in the protocol. So we’ll see how he does this week.”
His absence required some big changes up front. The Saints moved starting left guard James Hurst to Ruiz’s spot on the right side, with former starter Andrus Peat returning to his place on the left side. Both of them allowed pressure in this loss to the Green Bay Packers. The entire Saints offensive line has been a problem this year, but Ruiz has arguably been their most reliable player up front. Losing him is an obvious challenge for a unit that’s already underperforming.
Concussions are worrisome injuries for all football players, but especially offensive linemen. There’s good reasons for them wearing specialized helmets into games and pioneering the padded Guardian caps at training camp: they experience more head trauma more often than any other position group. Ruiz got into the lineup during his 2020 rookie year when veteran guard Nick Easton was sidelined by a series of concussions which ultimately cut his career short.
You hope he doesn’t miss much time, but at the same time Ruiz needs to take all the time he needs to recover even if the team is missing him. His long-term health is what’s most important here. He just signed a four-year contract extension with the Saints and both sides should have every intention of him playing it all the way through.