Saints: After disastrous start, Lelito improves
When Saints’ backup center Tim Lelito entered the game in the middle of the third quarter against Minnesota, he was no doubt anticipating his first NFL regular-season snap would be a routine play. Instead, he sailed the ball past Drew Brees, ending a drive and leaving a less-than-favorable impression on the home crowd.
First impressions tend to last, so the news that starter Jonathan Goodwin will likely miss time after suffering a high ankle sprain may cause some concern. However, Lelito was able to rebound from his shaky start and put in a solid afternoon. He was effective as both a run blovker and as a pass blocker on his way to earning an overall grade of +1.3, making him the eighth-rated center in Week 3 despite playing only 30 snaps.
Since Lelito was primarily a backup guard last season, we have only a small sample size to evaluate the second-year offensive lineman’s play at cener. Although lacking in regular season snaps, he did turn in a solid preseason. His final game highlighted his progress, as he imposed his will in the run game—although it must be noted that he had a disappointing showing in the previous game. It would be foolish to draw conclusions on his career after only a handful of regular season snaps, but he’s shown enough positive flashes for the Saints to be cautiously optimistic that Lelito can continue his development at center while holding down the position until Goodwin’s return.