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A needed boost?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE — If other injured Saints players return to the lineup as effectively as Scott Fujita and Tracy Porter did last week, the defense could receive a boost heading into the playoffs. Fujita, the team’s starting strongside linebacker, returned after ...

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Old 12-26-2009, 10:28 AM   #1
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A needed boost?

METAIRIE — If other injured Saints players return to the lineup as effectively as Scott Fujita and Tracy Porter did last week, the defense could receive a boost heading into the playoffs.

Fujita, the team’s starting strongside linebacker, returned after a two-game absence because of an infection in his knee and was second on the team with a season-high 11 tackles, including nine solo in the 24-17 loss to Dallas last Saturday in the Superdome.

Porter, the starting right cornerback, returned after a four-game absence because of a sprained knee to play more than 60 snaps and tie a career-high with four passes defensed.

“I shake my head and marvel at both those guys,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “There’s an example about those two guys about what true, really well-conditioned athletes they are to be thrown in the mix after some time off and play well. They both played very, very well.”

The Saints hope for more of the same as they expect other injured defenders to trickle back into the lineup. They could get tackle Sedrick Ellis back for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay in the Superdome. He missed four games earlier in the season because of a sprained knee and was held out of the Dallas game as well, but he has practiced on a limited basis this week and Payton said he’s “encouraged with where he’s going.”

Payton said he’s also encouraged by starting cornerback Jabari Greer’s progress in rehabbing from sports hernia surgery two weeks ago. Greer, who has missed the last six games, has started to practice on a limited basis and should be ready for the start of the playoffs if not sooner.

Weakside linebacker Scott Shanle and cornerback Randall Gay both suffered concussions against the Cowboys and should be back soon, even if they don’t play against the Bucs.

Gay’s injury forced Williams to play Porter more snaps than he had intended to. Williams said he probably waited too long to match Porter one-on-one with Cowboys receiver Miles Austin to slow Austin down. He said it was the first time this season that he has matched a specific corner on a specific receiver, though Dallas “formationed” the Saints into a situation in which Austin was matched against Mike McKenzie on a late third-and-7 and caught a pass for a 32-yard gain.

Williams said he has been “brutal” in how verbally demanding he has been on Porter in trying to toughen up the second-year player from Port Allen.

“He’s gotten to the point where he just laughs and shrugs it off because he knows what I’m doing,” Williams said. “He gives it back to me. He gives as much static back to me in practice as probably any player on the field right now. That means he has a little bit of a confidence and swagger about him and that was a step he had to go through.”

Fujita, who missed three games earlier in the season because of a calf strain, was hospitalized 48 hours before the Washington game three weeks ago when the infection showed up.

“It was kind of a shocker,” Fujita said. “The timing wasn’t real good — the Friday before a game. You deal with it the best you can. I’m glad we got to it when we did and we got it taken care of. We handled it pretty aggressively. I’m happy with the result — to be back in a week and a half. That was pretty strong. I was happy with how quickly it responded to everything.”

Williams called Fujita “a cerebral player” and praised him for being “a calming influence.”

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Old 12-26-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
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Re: A needed boost?

tracy porter was most likely the biggest suprise vs cowboys, i never imagined he'd play that many snaps, and play as well as he did. Soon as we get greer back we'll be fine, and hopefully will smith will continue to bring the heat
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:10 PM   #3
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Re: A needed boost?

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Old 12-26-2009, 01:14 PM   #4
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Re: A needed boost?

Agree. Bodes very well. Pretty obvious who are quality players.
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