The offensive line for the New Orleans Saints quickly turned from a strength to a weakness last season due to injuries. Seemingly, no one could stay on the field consistently.

As a result, guard Cesar Ruiz saw a lot of playing time, but still struggled. Fortunately for the Saints, it sounds like Ruiz has made strides in his development during this off-season.

Fellow offensive lineman Andrus Peat is looking for a bounce-back campaign in 2022, as well. He missed much of last season due to injury. His comments are notable, though, as the Saints need their interior offensive line to improve this year in front of QB Jameis Winston. Winston showed exciting flashes early last season before tearing his ACL, but injuries along the OL -as well as a below-average receiver room- hindered his time to throw downfield.

For the Saints offense to run most efficiently, they have to give their quarterback more time. A more vertical offense makes life easier on running back Alvin Kamara, too. Plus, the unit has more weapons in the passing game. Rookie wide receiver Chris Olave looks promising, and veteran Jarvis Landry will be another consistent target. Not to mention, Michael Thomas is back and looks as healthy as ever.

The health and development of the offensive line are paramount, though. Erik McCoy is quite reliable at center, but both Ruiz and Peat have to be more consistent for the New Orleans OL. It sounds like Ruiz is certainly taking steps forward in training camp so far.

Ruiz needs to have a big year in 2022. He’s entering his third year in the NFL, which means the Saints will have to decide on whether or not they want to approve the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option for the 2025 season.

Another down or inconsistent year could very well mean Ruiz’s time with the Saints is limited, at best, which obviously makes Peat’s endorsement all the more important.

Featured image via Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports