Thursday September 8th, 2011

Lance Moore has developed into one of Drew Brees' favorite targets. (Cal Sport Media)

The Saints will be shorthanded for Thursday night's season opener against the Packers, as wide receiver Lance Moore has been ruled out with a groin injury. Moore hasn't played since New Orleans' second preseason game and didn't practice this week.

Moore made 66 catches for 763 yards last season, second-best on the team in both categories behind Marques Colston. He also hauled in eight TDs, including five in the red zone, where he's developed into one of Drew Brees' favorite targets.

Colston had offseason knee surgery but should be at full speed for the regular season. And the Saints still have a number of weapons capable of stepping up in Moore's stead -- Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Jimmy Graham and even Adrian Arrington or Courtney Roby, to name a few.

It's also worth pointing out that in the Saints' 2009 Super Bowl season, Moore missed nine full games and made just 14 catches. Colston, Henderson, Meachem and former Saints TE Jeremy Shockey all topped the 50-reception mark that year.

Having a viable second option at receiver will be key to the Saints' hopes Thursday, though, matching up with a Packers secondary that is among the NFL's best.

The main reason for that lofty praise is cornerback Charles Woodson, who figures to be locked up with Colston much of the night. That matchup will force Brees to explore his other options, meaning that Henderson or Meachem -- possibly both -- will need to find some room.

If there is a plus side to opening the season in Green Bay for the Saints, it may be that New Orleans won't play again for 10 days, meaning that Moore will have ample time to rest up before the Week 2 battle against Chicago. But Moore's loss could have a big impact Thursday. The last time New Orleans and Green Bay met came on Nov. 24, 2008 -- the Saints rolled to a 51-29 win in the Superdome. Leading the way that night? Moore, who had a game-high 115 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

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