this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; http://www.nola.com/saints/t-p/index...9182656750.xml Decimated Saints reshuffle defense Changes test Haslett's defensive creativity Tuesday September 16, 2003 By Jeff Duncan Staff writer The Saints' 31-10 victory against Houston helped their self-esteem but it did critical damage to their defensive depth chart. The Saints ...
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Decimated Saints reshuffle defense
Decimated Saints reshuffle defense
Changes test Haslett's defensive creativity
Tuesday September 16, 2003
By Jeff Duncan
The Saints' 31-10 victory against Houston helped their self-esteem but it did critical damage to their defensive depth chart.
The Saints learned Monday that three defensive starters will be sidelined for indefinite periods of time, Coach Jim Haslett said.
Linebacker Sedrick Hodge is out for six to eight weeks because of a fractured bone in his right leg.
Cornerback Dale Carter is out for three to four weeks with a fractured orbital socket in his left eye.
Defensive end Johnathan Sullivan is out for two to three weeks with cartilage damage in his left knee.
Those ailments, coupled with previous injuries to safety Mel Mitchell and Darren Howard, means the Saints will face Tennessee on Sunday without five defensive starters.
Mitchell suffered a season-ending knee injury against Miami on Aug. 28. Howard dislocated his right wrist against Seattle and is out for 10 to 12 weeks.
"It's a family," Haslett said. "If my sister gets sick, and you've got to do the damn dishes, you've got to do the damn dishes. So if somebody gets hurt, then somebody else has to step to the plate and do their job. That's where we're at right now until we get our bodies back and we get healthy again."
The Saints learned Monday night that Hodges, a third-year linebacker, will not need surgery to repair the hairline fracture in his tibial plateau, which is located at the top of the large weight-bearing bone in the lower leg.
The bone can heal on its own, Haslett said. In that case, Hodge could return as soon as six weeks.
Veteran Roger Knight will start in Hodge's spot on the strong side. James Allen also will see time at that spot, Haslett said.
Carter fractured the orbital bone after he was kicked in the face while trying to make a tackle in the third quarter, Haslett said. Carter also suffered a concussion on the play. He will undergo surgery on Wednesday to insert a titanium plate in the bone under his right eye.
Sullivan is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery today to repair torn cartilage in his knee, which he injured while making the first sack of his career in the third quarter.
Kenny Smith will start until Sullivan returns. Veteran reserve Henry Ford, who has been sidelined for more than a month with an ankle injury, is expected to be available for duty this week.
"We've never had this many nicks and bumps and bruises," Haslett said. "We've got so many I can't name them all. If you have good depth, you can overcome some of this. We've just got to fight through all the injuries and deal with them as best we can."
One of Haslett's biggest concerns is having enough players to conduct practice. The attrition could force the club to put one or more of the injured starters on injured reserve, Haslett said. It also will force he and defensive coordinator Rick Venturi to tweak the defensive game plan for the third consecutive week.
"We do it all of the time anyway," Haslett said. "Rick did a good job last week game planning without Darren Howard and some of the other injuries. You have to account for your healthy players and the team that you are playing."
The injury-depleted defense is expected to get some extra help this week.
The Saints are expected to sign free agent safety Victor Green to a one-year contract today or Wednesday. Green, who worked out for the team Monday, can play either safety position and will provide quality depth in case either Tebucky Jones or Jay Bellamy is injured.
Green, 32, started six times and played in all 16 games for New England last season, where he teamed with Jones and Lawyer Milloy in the Patriots' "Big Nickel' package. He made 82 tackles with four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Prior to New England, Green started 98 games for the New York Jets from 1993 to 2001. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Akron.
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Jeff Duncan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 826-3405.
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