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Linebacker Jonathan Casillas moving in on starting role for New Orleans Saints

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE – Ten tackles, one sack. Yes, it was quite an exhibition by New Orleans Saints second-year linebacker Jonathan Casillas on Thursday night against the New England Patriots. But, that’s all it was: One exhibition. “I thought he played with ...

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Old 08-14-2010, 11:47 PM   #1
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METAIRIE – Ten tackles, one sack.

Yes, it was quite an exhibition by New Orleans Saints second-year linebacker Jonathan Casillas on Thursday night against the New England Patriots.

But, that’s all it was: One exhibition.

“I thought he played with great speed and he (made) good decisions,’’ Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams told reporters Saturday. “But you’ll see us be on him pretty hard this week in practice because you and everyone else is going to be kissing his butt all week long about how good he was.

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“He hasn’t done anything in a regular game right now, and now he has to do it when someone else sees that he has flashed. Any time a player flashes, he becomes a marked man the next time that a grown man gets ready to play against him. So, all of a sudden, he becomes a marked man and we’ll see how he plays this week when he’s marked because he stood out on film.”

This week actually starts Wednesday when the Houston Texans travel to New Orleans for three practices against the Saints leading up to their preseason game at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Superdome.

“I want it,’’ Casillas said. “I want to be able to play. I want to be able to start just like every linebacker out there. If (Williams) gives me the chance to do it, I’m going to go balls-to-the-wall for it like I’ve been doing since I got here.

“If I’m playing second WILL, second MIKE, first SAM, whatever it is, I’m going to go balls-to-the-wall and practice as hard as I can. Hopefully, it will show up come game time.’’

Casillas made his mark against the Patriots playing weakside linebacker in the absence of starter Scott Shanle, who was held out as a precautionary measure with a tweaked left knee.

Casillas’ performance at weakside ’backer, perhaps paved the way for Shanle to move to strongside linebacker on a permanent basis, the position vacated by Scott Fujita who signed with the Cleveland Browns during the offseason.

Saints linebackers Coach Joe Vitt informed Shanle of the change Friday.

“It makes perfect sense,’’ said Shanle, who did not practice Saturday afternoon. “We want to get our best players on the field, and if that means me moving to SAM, so somebody else can get on the field at WILL, I’m all for it.

“Before moving to WILL last year, I had played SAM the previous three years. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable over there. If we’re going to do it, this is the time to do it because it will give me at least a couple of games in the preseason to get comfortable.’’

Whether the team’s official depth chart at linebacker reflects the aforementioned changes involving Casillas and Shanle remains to be seen. Suffice to say that Williams will play the best players wherever, whenever.

“In all honesty, Scott Shanle might be one of the most underrated linebackers in the National Football League,’’ Williams said. “Scott Shanle can do it all for us. He can play all three positions. He can actually even play the strong safety position. He can rush, he can cover, he can play physical. He’s a strong, stout man on the line of scrimmage. But his flexibility allows us to do an awful lot of things.

“What I don’t think people realize is how well he runs. He can cover any back out of the backfield and you’ll see me put him on wide receivers in a ball game. I’m not afraid for him to line up and cover wide receivers in a game; especially the big, tall matchups when you maybe have a smaller corner and they’re going to put a big guy in the slot. Scott Shanle can do all those kinds of things and he’s a real versatile linebacker.’’

OUT TAKES

- Casillas said he received a text Friday from Fujita, who wished him well and offered encouraging words. “I’m just trying to gain as much knowledge from (Fujita), from Jonathan Vilma, from Scott Shanle, from Troy Evans, from everybody I can, and hopefully it can help me and help this defense as much as I can,’’ Casillas said.

- Casillas revealed to reporters that he played the bulk of Super Bowl XLIV with an injured left shoulder, one that required micro-fracture surgery after the season. “I tore a piece of my cartilage off in the Super Bowl,’’ he said. “I thought I had caught a stinger. My whole left side of my body went numb. It was a pretty serious thing and I had to get it taken care of after the season. I thought it was a stinger; you shake it off and keep going. My adrenaline was going. I mean it’s the damn Super Bowl; I didn’t want to come out. Afterwards, I got it checked out and found out something was really wrong with it.’’ Keep in mind: On the onside kick at the outset of the third quarter, it was Casillas (bad shoulder and all) who helped wrestle the ball away from several Indianapolis Colts at the bottom of the pile. S Chris Reis was credited with the fumble recovery but Casillas provided a huge assist.

P.M. NOTES

- Punter Thomas Morstead described his injury against the Patriots as a separated left shoulder. “I couldn’t move it for a minute or two and then they popped it back in,’’ Morstead said. “It was pretty painful. It felt like a bolt of lightning.’’

- WR Courtney Roby and QB Patrick Ramsey collaborated on a 60-yard scoring pass. CB Danny Goorer jumped the route and went for the INT, leaving Roby a clear path down the left sideline to the end zone.

- Things you normally don’t see: Red-zone drops in a two-minute drill by usually sure-handed wide receivers Marques Colston and Lance Moore on passes from QB Drew Brees.

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Old 08-15-2010, 07:47 AM   #2
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“I thought he played with great speed and he (made) good decisions,’’ Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams told reporters Saturday. “But you’ll see us be on him pretty hard this week in practice because you and everyone else is going to be kissing his butt all week long about how good he was.

“He hasn’t done anything in a regular game right now, and now he has to do it when someone else sees that he has flashed. Any time a player flashes, he becomes a marked man the next time that a grown man gets ready to play against him. So, all of a sudden, he becomes a marked man and we’ll see how he plays this week when he’s marked because he stood out on film.”
Reading between the lines, I get the feeling Gregg Williams thinks he has a star on his hands.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:55 AM   #3
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Good, lets get the Dome Patrol back together
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
Good, lets get the Dome Patrol back together
They are retired.....and the name should stay that way, too.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:31 PM   #5
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It would be nice not to miss Fuji this year. Shanle played well last year and it would be nice to see Casillas compliment him and Johnny V.
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