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SmashMouth 09-03-2012 10:58 AM

New Orleans Saints defensive line taking shape despite looming Will Smith suspension
 
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New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, the team's longest tenured starter, didn't have the fortune of sitting out like most first-teamers since this will be the second consecutive season where the NFL sidelines Smith with a suspension.

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New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith (91) picks up a fumble by Houston Texans wide receiver Keshawn Martin (82) after he was hit by Malcolm Jenkins (27) during the preseason game between the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints at the Superdome on August 25.
He played about one quarter in the team's preseason finale against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on Thursday night. Smith wasn't a major factor in the game as he didn't record a tackle.

"Sorry boss, I'm heading out," Smith said politely when asked for an interview as he exited the locker room.

And that's probably the last time you'll hear from Smith until he returns after his four-game suspension related to his involvement in the team's alleged bounty scandal. Without its anchor and best pass rusher, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have some interesting decisions on how his defensive line will function personnel-wise going into Week 1 preparations for the Washington Redskins.

Second-year defensive end Cam Jordan undoubtedly will be an every-down player either at end or at defensive tackle. Jordan and Smith shifted many times to defensive tackle in passing situations during the preseason. Jordan disrupted the Texans' offense on numerous occasions from the end, though, in the Saints' fourth preseason game and started becoming a more consistent player toward the end of last season.

"I know both (defensive line coaches) Bill Johnson and Travis Jones, who were with Cam Jordan here last year, are really impressed with his progress," Spagnuolo said. "In his second year here, I think he's kind of made some strides. Playing on a tight end and some of the reads that he had out there last year were new to him. I think he's come a long way."

How the Saints line up on the opposite side of defensive line will depend on the situation.

Second-year end Junior Galette is probably the best pass rusher outside of Jordan. The Saints don't view him yet as an every down end so Turk McBride may see more time during running scenarios. McBride fought off a mid-camp injury to play in the final two preseason games and made a couple of nice stops.

Martez Wilson will continue to be the wild card in his transition from strongside linebacker to a speed defensive end. Teams probably will run at the less bulky defensive end so his run defense snaps will be limited at best.

The Saints won't have the veteran group on the inside like last season. That might actually be a good thing as Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin had plenty of years in the league, but lacked much sizzle last season alongside Sedrick Ellis. And Ellis seems pretty thrilled it's Brodrick Bunkley at his side in this new scheme.

"He's just a big, strong dude," Ellis said. "He kind of plugs up those holes. He brings a lot mentally because he's been in this scheme in Philadelphia before. A lot of the small things with this scheme that we might not understand or might not see yet, he can help out and see those things before we can at this point. He's been a great help in that way. His run-stopping abilities and he's pretty good if you give him the opportunity on pass plays to rush up the middle."

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homerj07 09-03-2012 11:18 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defensive line taking shape despite looming Will Smith suspension
 
This continues to be one of the largest piles of BS ever invented. SHow me the proof

Rugby Saint II 09-03-2012 06:23 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defensive line taking shape despite looming Will Smith suspension
 
We probably won't take shape for the first four or five games. But hopefully we can create a couple of turn overs early on.

CharityMike 09-03-2012 07:00 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defensive line taking shape despite looming Will Smith suspension
 
This may all be fiddle faddle but all I know is, this is the best I have felt about our front four in a long time.

Utah_Saint 09-03-2012 07:25 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defensive line taking shape despite looming Will Smith suspension
 
I don't think Smith has played up to his potential for a few years now. I don't blame him, I don't think Gregg Williams schemes helped d-linemen out at all. They were mostly used as blocker eaters to open things up for the blitzers and it doesn't take a great pass rusher to fill that role. Therefore, I don't think the Saints will miss Smith all that much.

But by the same token, since Spag's scheme emphasizes pressure from the line, it should be a great bonus when he comes back.

halloween 65 09-08-2012 05:48 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defensive line taking shape despite looming Will Smith suspension
 
I agree with Rugby Saint II, I just hope we can somehow weather those games to get the D were they need to be, but after that I think we can be a pretty decent D this year.


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