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Kristian: Saints linebackers a strength of the team?

Kristian Garic
August 22, 2017 - 1:42 pm
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Headed into training camp, the top position group that had more questions than answers was clearly at linebacker.  Through two preseason games, that position group looks like it could actually be a strength for the Saints defense.  The off-season additions of A.J Klein (free agent), Manti Te'o (free agent) and Alex Anzalone (draft) coupled with last season's addition of Craig Robertson potentially has the Saints with four quality linebackers to put on the field in different situations.   Te'o might be the middle linebacker this club has needed since Jonathan Vilma retired four years ago.  In the Saints 13-7 win over the Chargers on Sunday, Te'o had 9 tackles (7 solo) and 1 sack in one half of play.  Pretty impressive, I'd say!

Klein had an impressive outing as well with 6 combined tackles and a 1/2 sack.  Klein is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, with really good versatility.  He can play all three linebacking spots.  Klein's off-season signing with the Saints was met with some questions regarding his speed and vulnerability in pass coverage, but I haven't see those concerns in training and two preseason games. 

 Rookie Alex Anzalone might be the most athletic linebacker of the group.  What's even more interesting about the Saints linebacker group is former first round draft pick Stephone Anthony is buried on the depth chart right now.  Rounding out the position group are veterans Mike Mauti, and Nate Stupar.  Adam Bighill is another interesting player to watch, although I don't think he factors in to the everyday plans on the final roster to start the season.  

The Saints have tremendous depth at the position.  The early returns are good for the Saints defense; but, again it's still early.  It is just the preseason, but you have reason for hope because of the linebackers on this team. 

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