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Casillas emerges during camp

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; It might be strange to think about, but an injury may have played a role in how the New Orleans Saints coaches figure out how they’re going to line up at linebacker this season. Going into training camp, the Saints ...

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Old 08-25-2010, 01:58 PM   #1
Threaded by papz
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It might be strange to think about, but an injury may have played a role in how the New Orleans Saints coaches figure out how they’re going to line up at linebacker this season.

Going into training camp, the Saints were looking for a replacement for four-year starter Scott Fujita on the strong side after Fujita, an unrestricted free agent, signed with the Cleveland Browns in March.

What the coaches didn’t know was their new starting strongside linebacker was already in the lineup — on the weak side in eight-year veteran Scott Shanle.

When Shanle strained his left knee early in camp and missed a week of practice, second-year pro Jonathan Casillas filled in for him during two-a-days.

A couple of days after Shanle returned, the coaches held him out of the preseason opener against the New England Patriots as a precaution and Casillas took advantage with 10 solo tackles and a sack.

“I was just doing my job, to be honest,” said Casillas, who made the 53-man roster in 2009 as an undrafted free agent. “I had some good looks and good opportunities, and I just took advantage of them. That’s just like everybody does on our defense. I just had a lot of numbers in that game.”

One day later, after a review of the game tapes, the Saints shifted Shanle to Fujita’s old spot and penciled Casillas’ name at the top of the depth chart on the weak side.

While defensive coordinator Gregg Williams warned the 6-foot-1, 227-pound Casillas would be a marked man after his coming-out party against the Patriots, he said that he’s fared well in his short time as the starter despite recording just two tackles in Saturday night’s 38-20 win over the Houston Texans.

“Obviously, he wasn’t as much of a standout the next week — and that’s because he became a marked man,” Williams said Tuesday. “But his growth is good. There’s going to be a learning curve with all young players. They have to prove themselves under competition and under stress.

“But I do like what I’m seeing out of Jon. I do like it,” he said. “He just needs to keep going.”

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2theadvocate.com | Sports | Casillas emerges during camp — Baton Rouge, LA

Last edited by papz; 12-24-2011 at 06:47 PM..
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