Monday, August 26, 2013
Saints running out of healthy LBs
By Pat Yasinskas
At a time when they’re switching their defensive scheme to include an extra linebacker, the New Orleans Saints are running out of players to play the position.
Outside linebacker Will Smith reportedly will miss the season after injuring his knee in Sunday’s preseason game with Houston.
That comes after the Saints lost Victor Butler, a projected starter at the other outside linebacker position, to injury in June. Outside linebackers Martez Wilson (elbow) and Junior Galette (leg) also have missed significant time in the preseason. Inside linebacker Jonathan Vilma also has been sidelined after having knee surgery. Defensive end Kenyon Coleman also is out for the season with a pectoral injury.
Vilma’s space is being filled by David Hawthorne. But the outside linebacker positions are a bigger concern. The Saints are hoping Wilson and Galette can get healthy. Veteran backup Jay Richardson could be in the mix for more playing time. Rookies Rufus Johnson and Eric Martin have done some good things in the preseason, but I’m not sure they’re ready to be starters.
The Saints might have to comb the waiver wire for linebacker help in the coming days.