<
>

Sean Payton hints at changes to D-line formation, Cameron Jordan's role

3h

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Sean Payton said the New Orleans Saints plan to change how guys are lined up along the defensive line this year.

Payton didn't offer many specifics, but he alluded to the changes twice while discussing the recent releases of outside linebacker Junior Galette and nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley.

Payton seemed to indicate that defensive end Cameron Jordan will play on the edge more often than last year, when Jordan bounced inside at tackle sometimes -- though he didn't specifically say that.

Payton brought up Jordan's name when asked if the Saints feel comfortable with the pass-rushing talent they have in the wake of Galette's release.

"Absolutely," Payton said. "Where we're playing Cam, with what we're gonna do defensively, because there's some changes with how we'll be lining guys up."

Newly-signed veteran Anthony Spencer, rookies Hau'oli Kikaha and Davis Tull and second-year pros Kasim Edebali and Ronald Powell are other options on the edges. And veteran outside linebacker Parys Haralson, who primarily plays against the run, spent some time working with the defensive linemen during OTAs and minicamp.

Payton said the Saints will alter their personnel based on situations.

Veterans Akiem Hicks and Glenn Foster could play end or tackle, depending on the front. Third-year pro John Jenkins, newly-signed veteran Kevin Williams and a group of young roster hopefuls will help fill the void left by Bunkley.

"Part of the reason Kevin was signed was probably knowing we were gonna need some depth, and we feel like Kevin can give us those snaps we saw on tape last year with Seattle. We've just gotta be smart about what that pitch count is," Payton said of the 34-year-old veteran, who went to six Pro Bowls with the Minnesota Vikings as a three-technique tackle in a 4-3 front before joining the Seahawks and filling in at nose tackle last year.

"We do have some younger players that are gonna have to step up on the inside, and I think they will," Payton added. "But it'll be up to us to get the right combination of players on the field, not only in the base but in the nickel. And if that means our front gets altered a little bit, then so be it. That's just smart coaching."