Go Back   New Orleans Saints - blackandgold.com > Main > Saints

A Look at the Linebackers

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; NewOrleansSaints.com Monday, July 30, 2007 - 12:00 PM LINEBACKERS Desmond Sims: Rookie Marvin Mitchell: Rookie Brian Simmons: 10th Year in the NFL; 1st with the Saints Mark Simoneau: 8th Year in the NFL; 2nd with the Saints Troy Evans: 6th ...

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-21-2007, 06:32 AM   #1
DARE TO ENTER
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Home Sweet Home, NEW ORLEANS, La.
Posts: 1,154
Cool A Look at the Linebackers

NewOrleansSaints.com
Monday, July 30, 2007 - 12:00 PM


LINEBACKERS

Desmond Sims: Rookie
Marvin Mitchell: Rookie
Brian Simmons: 10th Year in the NFL; 1st with the Saints
Mark Simoneau: 8th Year in the NFL; 2nd with the Saints
Troy Evans: 6th Year in the NFL; 1st with the Saints
Scott Fujita: 6th Year in the NFL; 2nd with the Saints
Alfred Fincher: 3rd Year in the NFL; 3rd with the Saints
Trev Faulk: 3rd Year in the NFL; 1st with the Saints
Scott Shanle: 5th Year in the NFL; 2nd with the Saints
Dhani Jones: 8th Year in the NFL; 1st with the Saints


Desmond Sims is an athletic linebacker who split time between outside linebacker and defensive end during his 49-game Razorback career. Sims started 16 games over four seasons and registered 188 tackles, seven sacks, 16 tackles for loss, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Marvin Mitchell, a 7th-rond draft choice of the Saints in 2007, is a Rugged middle linebacker who led the Volunteers in tackles last season with 104 tackles while adding 10 tackles for losses, three pass defenses and a pair of forced fumbles. Mitchell, a team captain in 2006, played in 40 games (15 starts) during his career and finished with 154 stops.

Brian Simmons was one of the club’s top free-agent signings of the offseason. Simmons is expected to bolster the interior of the defense. Entering his 10th NFL season, he has been a force on the second tier of the defense with his hard-nosed play since being a first-round pick of Cincinnati in 1998. Simmons can fill against the run, has the speed to range from sideline-to-sideline and has been extremely productive and durable throughout his career. Considered a team leader during his time with the Bengals, the veteran has started 115-of-121 games, notching 896 tackles, 23 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 11 interceptions.

Mark Simoneau is a veteran linebacker who was acquired in a trade with Philadelphia near the end of the 2006 preseason and proved to be a valuable addition. Simoneau appeared in every game last year, starting 14 contests at middle linebacker and ranked fourth on the club with 73 tackles (38 solo) while adding a sack and an interception. He has been a productive and versatile performer throughout his NFL career, as well as a top-notch special teams player. From 2003-05 with the Eagles, he played both middle and weakside linebacker and had a career-high 149 stops in 2003. Simoneau opened nine of 45 games for the Atlanta Falcons from 2000-02 after being a third round pick out of Kansas State.

Troy Evans is a veteran who has been a special teams standout throughout his career and also brings experienced depth to the linebacker corps. Arriving in New Orleans after a five-year stint with the Houston Texans, Evans has played in 72 games in his career and has notched 28 stops and an interception on defense and 69 tackles with a pair of fumble recoveries on special teams.

The first defensive free agent the Saints signed in 2006 when the new coaching staff was in place was Scott Fujita, and the club immediately found the versatile, consistent performer it sought to lead the unit. Fujita immediately gave the linebacker corps a defender who could range from sideline to sideline, with the size to fill holes against the run and the speed to cover running backs and tight ends in the passing game. He responded with a banner first season in New Orleans, rarely leaving the field and pacing the club with 119 tackles. But it was his all-around contributions during the season that stood out by the end of the year: 3.5 sacks for 16 yards in losses, two interceptions, eight passes knocked down and a pair of forced fumbles. Fujita started all 16 games in 2006 – pushing his NFL career totals to 80 games played with 65 starts. He also opened both postseason contests. The former fifth-round pick by Kansas City was with the Chiefs from 2002-04 before being traded to Dallas just days before the kickoff of the 2005 regular season and starting the Cowboys’ last eight games.

A powerful linebacker with size and speed, third-year man Alfred Fincher is expected to continue to compete for playing time at linebacker and be a contributor on special teams. Over the last two seasons, he has recorded 18 tackles on special teams while playing in 17 games.

Trev Faulk is a strong linebacker with good quickness and will compete for a roster spot at linebacker as he returns to his native Louisiana and is reunited with assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt, who was his position coach with the Rams. He has totaled 68 tackles during his career – 29 games played, seven starts – along with a forced fumble on defense, as well as 40 stops on special teams.

Acquired in a trade with Dallas during training camp, Scott Shanle immediately developed into an important part of the defense and one of the unit’s top playmakers in 2006 when he started 15 of 16 games in 2006 and ranked second on the club with a career-high 117 tackles – including a team-leading 77 solo stops – and added four sacks, a forced fumble and a pair of pass defenses. Shanle’s speed and instincts make him a versatile component in the Saints’ schemes, as he can blitz, cover running backs and tight ends in the passing game and fill holes vs. the run. Originally a seventh-round pick out of Nebraska in 2003 by St. Louis, Shanle spent most of that season with the Rams, playing in six games before being claimed off waivers by Dallas late in the year. With the Cowboys, he was a special teams standout in 2004 before starting eight games in 2005 and notching 50 tackles and 1.5 sacks. In his career, he has started at the strongside, weakside and middle linebacker spots, though he has found a home at weakside linebacker in New Orleans.

Dhani Jones was signed just prior to training camp and brings more veteran presence and adds depth and experience to the club’s linebacking corps. Entering his eighth NFL season, he has patrolled the defenses of three NFC East-division winners in his seven years split between the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles since entering the league as a sixth-round pick of the Giants in 2000. Jones is a versatile defender who has started at both outside linebacker spots and has always been a solid special teams contributor as well. A veteran of 95 regular season games in his career, Jones has started 76 of them and tallied 557 tackles (310 solo), four sacks, four interceptions, forced three fumbles and recovered four as well as making 46 tackles on special teams. He has also played in six postseason games (four starts), making 17 tackles.

saint4life
(504)
blacksaint is offline  
Old 07-21-2007, 11:55 PM   #2
Linebacker Forever
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Picayune, MS
Posts: 130
No Hodge's or Cie Grant's among them . . .

Besides the "stick with Aaron Brooks at all cost" and the lack of discipline on the team, the lack of any linebacker development was truly one of the most disappointing aspects of the HAZ
BlueDevil1978 is offline  
Old 07-22-2007, 05:27 AM   #3
DARE TO ENTER
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Home Sweet Home, NEW ORLEANS, La.
Posts: 1,154
Cool

Originally Posted by BlueDevil1978 View Post
No Hodge's or Cie Grant's among them . . .

Besides the "stick with Aaron Brooks at all cost" and the lack of discipline on the team, the lack of any linebacker development was truly one of the most disappointing aspects of the HAZ
You're right about one thing, to not have a couple of All-Pro Linebackers during his tenure is an outright shame, being a damn good LB himself. But Aaron Brooks was more of a Mike McCarthy guy than Coach Haz.
blacksaint is offline  
Old 07-22-2007, 11:42 PM   #4
500th Post
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Belleview, FL
Posts: 526
i forgot all about cie grant...living in ohio at the time the saints drafted him...i saw him play a lot and thought he could have developed into a good cover linebacker...he could never seem to get past the injuries
jergensl is offline  
Old 07-23-2007, 08:37 AM   #5
Rookie
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3
Brian Simmons is a nice addition-having watched him play here in Cincinnati for his first 10 years and what he had to play with I should say. Terrible D-Line left him exposed much of the time-He is a run to the ballcarrier type backer-like Fujita. With the Saints D-Line he should get alot of behind the line tackles when he plays. Gonna be a even better group this year. Glad to see him with the Saints
SaintsfanOhio is offline  
Old 07-23-2007, 03:20 PM   #6
Cold as Ice!
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Da Big Easy
Posts: 2,978
i am very encouraged as far as the LB position. Well, a lot more encouraged than I usually am this time of year.
FireVenturi is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:10 AM.


Copyright 1997 - 2014 - BlackandGold.com
no new posts