Kristian: Rookies try and find their niche on special teams
Kristian@wwl.com - In order for a late-round draft pick to make a Saints roster already filled with starters firmly entrenched in their positions, the rookies will have to catch the coach's eye on special teams.
"I think the guys we signed to the roster that came in (produced),” Special Teams Coach Greg McMahon explained. “Certainly Corey White is a draft pick we’re excited about. He did a good job. What we try to do special teams wise in rookie minicamp are a lot of evaluation type of drills. Certainly our fundamental techniques, but we’re going to do some cover drill, to see if they can transition and things like that. We got good work with them. We’re excited about this class. We think it’s a good class and with the undrafted free agents and draft picks that we received some good evaluations on.”
White is also in the mix competing for the teams nickel cornerback position, Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo told us.
"There’s competition there, but we do know who the two guys are that were there from last year (Jabari Greer and Patrick Robinson). Corey White will certainly be in there, Johnny Patrick, Marquis Johnson who we just added to the fold here. There will be a bunch of these young guys," said Spagnuolo.
The Saints special teams unit was vastly improved in 2011 after a sub-par year in 2010. The Black and Gold made a concerted effort to get younger on special teams a year ago, and it looks as though that will be the theme again this season.
"Young players have to play special teams, and have to find their spot because of the limited number of game day roster spots,” says NFL analayst Mike Detillier. “You can't be the nickel cornerback and that's it. You can't be the fifth wide reciever and not have a role on special teams."
Last year's special teams demon Isa Abdul-Quddus saw action in 16 regular season games and both post-season contests, registering 11 tackles and 2 forced fumbles. Qudduss joined the Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Fordham and made the roster because of his play on coverage units.