Kristian: Saints Tackle! Tackle! Tackle! & Ruud hits the field
by Kristian Garic, email@example.com,posted Aug 22 2012 5:49PM
Making his point:
Saints Coach Joe Vitt made his point with the defensive players this week. He's had them in pads, and they've been tackling! "They're hitting each other, that's why we have the pads on," Vitt said. The Saints missed roughly 16 tackles by my records in the preseason loss to Jacksonville last week. "Two days in a row, it's been a main emphasis. That's why we work on it. There is an expectancy level," Vitt added. The Saints have done a number of drills to improve tackling. At practice you can often hear the coaches screaming, "Angles! Take good angles to the ball." I think you'll see a better performance this week from the defense after being challenged during practice.
Another linebacker down:
Ramon Humber! Stay with me here, he is the back up to the back up to the back up at middle linebacker. He is out for the next ten days with what Vitt described as a “grade one hamstring pull." Humber would have had his chance to catch the coaches' eyes with the starters Curtis Lofton (ankle) and David Hawthorne (knee) out for this week. Remember Chris Chamberlain blew out his knee and is out for the season. With Humber, that makes four middle linebackers that have sustained injuries for the Saints in less than a week. Now who's the next man up? Lawrence Wilson. Who? Lawrence Wilson is a rookie out of Connecticut. Wilson has been impressive playing with the 3rd team defense, but he has Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson to contend with this week. Oh and by the way; the Texans two-time Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster.
No Sproles or Lofton:
You will not see running back Darren Sproles this week against the Texans. Sproles is working his way back from soreness in his knee, and the Saints are content with letting him rest until the regular season. The same, I think, could be said for middle linebacker Curtis Lofton. "If this were a regular season game, Lofton would be out there," Vitt said after practice. Lofton is battling a high ankle sprain, but it doesn't look too concerning.
Newly acquired linebacker Barret Ruud logged his first practice with the Black and Gold, and right now he's just trying to familiarize himself with the defensive playbook. "Football is football, the biggest difficulty will be verbiage. This will be my fifth system, I'll pick it up pretty quick," Ruud explained. The trade for Ruud was a little surprising to the fans, and even Ruud. “A lot of surprise actually, it's something I've never been through before. Usually when someone trades for you, that means they want you. To go to a team like New Orleans is a bonus," Ruud said. Vitt told us that Ruud will likely not play Saturday night against Houston. You'll have to wait another week to see the new linebacker.