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Halo 02-01-2011 04:06 PM

New Orleans Saints: Who will stay and who will go - LB's
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Bradley Handwerger / Eyewitness Sports - With the Super Bowl set for Sunday, we thought itíd be a good time to look at the roster the Saints ended the season with and give our two cents into what players should stick around and which players should go.

You know, because this is the end of the NFL season. Also, fans continue to clamor for information and opinion on the Saints.

So, this week, weíll go by position groups (secondary, linebackers, defensive line, offensive line and skill players) daily and give our beliefs on who should return and who shouldnít.

It should be noted that this is all with the assumption that A) the collective bargaining agreement, or lack thereof, doesnít kill the 2011 season and B) a new CBA doesnít drastically alter roster or free agency rules.

Vilma, the heart and soul of the defense, isnít going anywhere. Heís signed through the 2013 season before becoming a free agent in 2014. As long as Drew Brees is the Saints quarterback and as long as Gregg Williams is the defensive coordinator, Vilma has no reason to leave (unless some team throws a Federal Bank at him). He led the team in tackles and has to be dragged off the field to leave the game.

Shanle gets the brunt of the attack by Saints fans. While we say itís quite undeserved, thereís no doubt that he began to show wear and tear on his body by the latter half of the season. The Saints could be looking for a younger, cheaper, more athletic guy to play the position in the coming seasons, but as Iíll allude to shortly, the answer may already be on the roster. Heís a free agent, though, and will test the market. It might be just like Scott Fujita last year; Saints will keep him for the right price but will let other teams over pay for his fantastic locker room leadership and on-field knowledge. We think Shanle is around next season.

Clark was a fill-in this past season and at 31, showed his age. He had troubles in coverage and had a hard time changing directions on the fly. You got the impression later in the season when the team used Jo-Lonn Dunbar against Atlanta that Clarkís time as a starter with the Saints might be growing short. He was inactive for the playoff game at Seattle, a nod to the fact the Saints were expecting lots of passing from the Seahawks and thatís the one area Clark had trouble with. Heís a free agent and we donít see him sticking to the roster in the fall.

Dunbar is a guy who is taking the long road to success. He was an undrafted rookie free agent signed by the Saints in 2008. Heís designated a restricted free agent this offseason, but thatís under the old CBA (though the free agent rules are expected to remain the same). Still, Williams likes his athleticism. In the aforementioned Atlanta game, Williams put Dunbar in the game instead of Clark, who had been starting for much of the second half of the stadium. We expect him back.

M. Mitchell, like Dunbar, has done his part when thrown into the game. Heís no Vilma, but heís a solid backup middle linebacker that the coaching staff trusts. He played in every game and picked up a start in the playoffs. Heís an important player on special teams. Heís also a player we see back in the black and gold.

K. Mitchell was a late-season addition when injuries forced the team to continue making roster moves. He came in and some believed he could be the answer at weak side linebacker. But he never quite got into the rotation, whether it was because he wasnít what the staff thought heíd be or that he wasnít 100 percent from an injury that ended his time in Buffalo. Regardless, he was inactive for three of his five games with the Saints. At this point, I donít see him returning with the Saints.

Waters is a guy who seemingly slipped through the cracks and found a way onto the roster. He was inactive in six of the 16 regular season games with various injuries and played primarily on special teams when he was in the game. He has worked hard to get where he is, but he just has the feel of a guy who wonít be on the roster much longer.

Humber is an interesting case. Like Waters and Kawika Mitchell, he was a special teams guy. Heís not loud, heís not about face time but he is about doing his job. Heís a guy who knows his job. Heís an exclusive rights free agent (again, under the old CBA rules). I see him back as a special teamer.

The IR Crew: Jonathan Casillas and Stanley Arnoux

Casillas was heralded as the answer to the Saints needs at weak side linebacker. He was expected to play there, shifting Shanle over to strong side. But Casillas was injured in the final preseason game, going on IR with a Lisfranc injury to his foot. Gregg Williams is super high on this guy and wonders only if he can stay healthy. Thereís no doubt that Casillas will be back in í11.

Arnoux is another guy that Williams really thinks has a lot of upside. But in his first two seasons in the NFL, he has missed time because of blown out Achillesí tendons. Thatís the bad news. The good news is it hasnít been the same one. If Arnoux can find a way to stay healthy, he could have a good career with the Saints. Heíll be back in 2011.

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AlaskaSaints 02-01-2011 07:31 PM

Shanle must be married to Tom Benson's niece, or something...

I just rewatched him get beat in the Superbowl last year. My lack of confidence is reaffirmed.


Danno 02-01-2011 08:07 PM

Shanle is exactly like Fujita was. A decent to slightly above average OLB. He does everthing OK but does nothing great.

He. like Fujita will be missed only if we don't at least replace him with someone decent.

He's nothing special.

jeanpierre 02-01-2011 10:07 PM


Originally Posted by strato (Post 283488)
Shanle aint no Fujita Danno....come on..

If you really know linebacking and you watch the film, Shanle is a solid linebacker...

Many of the coverages some say they see him "struggling" is really where someone wasn't there for what is called a "handoff" comparable to handing a baton in a relay...

...and usually that guy was a Safety that shall not be named...

He's not Rickey Jackson, but the guy plays, plays hurt, and plays hard...

I for one like 'em and am glad we have 'em...

...And you don't kick 'em to the curb till you have something much, much better...

jeanpierre 02-01-2011 10:14 PM

And while I respect the business decision not to sign Fujita to the numbers he got from Cleveland, did you notice the impact he had on that team?!?

Which then begs the disrespect I don't mind inquiring of Saints Mgt...

One, why was Fujita not extended to a "friendlier" cap number sooner?

Two, why not come out with a stronger offer that says we want you here, but we want to continue to put talent around you for success?

Choupique 02-02-2011 04:18 AM

Ronnie Lott called Sharper a special player.

Sharper made a similar comment about Shanle.

All of them are atheletes. You all, including the guy who wrote that article are likely pudgy couch potato yuppies. Why would anyone care what a fat yuppie thinks?

I'll keep listening to Lott and Sharper. They have a clue.

dizzle88 02-02-2011 06:35 AM

Upgrade the the spot where shanle plays, put shanle on special teams, make him the captain whatever. He has no speed, struggles in coverage, I can still remember him getting owned basically every passing play the colts ran in the SB. Dallas Clark had a great game due to him victimising shanle all day.

saintsfan1976 02-02-2011 07:46 AM


Casillas was heralded as the answer to the Saints needs at weak side linebacker. He was expected to play there, shifting Shanle over to strong side
This, I could live with.

Oh and a speedy, edgde-rusher please.

SapperSaint 02-02-2011 07:48 AM

Once again Choup is drowning in friend request.

I have been had on Shanle; no doubt about it. However, I will say this.... Shanle is solid. He is a "bend, don't break" player. Is he going to make the highlight reel? No. Will he make a play? Absolutely! Do we need him? Yes. With Vilma and himself to teach our younger LB's can do nothing but help. I say we keep him.

Danno 02-02-2011 07:57 AM


Originally Posted by strato (Post 283488)
Shanle aint no Fujita Danno....come on..

They are practically identical.

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