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Friday, September 23, 2011
Saints have confidence in Dunbar

By Pat Yasinskas

If New Orleans middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is listed as doubtful with a knee injury, isn’t ready to play Sunday, the Saints are more than confident in turning to Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

He’s been a top backup at several spots and also is a regular contributor on special teams.

“He’s had good practices, he played very well last week and he’s probably playing his natural position when we played him at middle linebacker,’’ defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Friday. “We’ve played him at outside linebacker, the Sam linebacker, he played there last week, but he’s played well. The times that he has played and has been the Mike here, I look back on that first preseason game, he had like 17 tackles in that preseason game. He’ll be ready to go if we have to pull the trigger, and I feel real confident in him. He’s very smart.”

Williams said Dunbar’s best trait might be his instincts.

“You can’t coach instincts,’’ Williams said. “You can’t coach the anticipation of what the offense is going to do before it happens and he has those kind of instincts like Jon (Vilma) does and like a lot of the nose-for-the-ball linebackers. He made a lot of really good instinctive plays (in the Week 2 victory against Chicago).”