That's one word you could use to describe the Saints injury situation at linebacker. In Friday's game against the Jags the Saints lost back up middle linebacker, Chris Chamberlain (ACL) for the entire year. Starting MLB Curtis Lofton sustained a high ankle sprain. WLB David Hawthorne suffered a meniscus tear that will require surgery.
Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt says, "We certainly think Curtis (Lofton) is going to be ready for the first game (of the regular season)."
Hawthorne injured his knee early in the preseason contest against Jacksonville and played through it. "He's got a chance to be back for that game (week 1)," Vitt Said. The pro scouts have always had a list of players at the ready. "Our pro personnel people do an outstanding job of acquiring talent for us. We will see what other talent is available to us on other rosters and potential trades or picking some people up when they are waved. We're happy with what we have now and we're excited," Vitt insisted.
Remember, the Saints also lost MLB Jonathan Vilma to a season-long suspension.
Next man up:
Who is the next man up? Chris Chamberlain was that guy in the middle until he went down with an ACL injury. David Hawthorne then moved inside, but he's down. Hello Ramon Humber! That's right, the guy that got here just before the Patriots preseason game. "He's got a great chance to show his skill level, and what he can do. We're excited to watch him play," said Vitt. Humber was with the Saints last season and was available all offseason before the call finally came. Humber said he was in constant communication with the Saints during the summer, and they told him to stay ready. Well, we'll find out if he's ready. Regardless, Humber is suspended for three games in the 2012 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. I think it's safe to say the Saints will be making a trade for a middle linebacker soon enough. Any player that is on the open market right now is not an upgrade over who they have currently on the roster, though. If the Saints don't pull the trigger on a trade that means the ankle injury to Lofton is not expected to keep him out of the week 1 match up against Washington.
The Saints are in regular season mode and began their work on the Washington Redskins. The intensity level is up a bit here on Airline Drive. The Saints and Coach Vitt started looking at film of RGIII (Robert Griffin the third) back in April. "You've got to prepare for your upcoming opponents. We did the same thing last year with Cam Newton," Vitt said. He explained that the Saints began doing their homework a week after the draft. The Saints have started to sprinkle in some "game plan" work on the Redskins both offensively and defensively.
Vitt says he kind of wishes he had taken the team to practice in the Superdome before Friday night's preseason game against the Jaguars. The Superdome installs new turf before each season, and it takes a while to get used to. Not to mention that the Saints suffered two knee injuries (Hawthorne and Chamberlain). In the past, Payton had traditionally brought the team to the Dome for a workout prior to the first preseason game… as a way of getting a feel for the new surface.
Odds and Ends:
Saints rookie WR Nick Toon (foot) is on the mend, and Vitt told us he has a chance to get back on the field before the Saints wrap up the preseason against the Tennessee Titans on August 30th. Defensive end Turk McBride (ankle) is "awful close" to returning to the field. DT Tom Johnson is another couple of weeks away. WR Adrian Arrington (knee) says that he hopes to get in the pool next week and be back in time for week 1.