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John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Bottle the “old dog, new trick” cliché. It doesn’t really apply if the new trick that allegedly is being taught isn’t totally a new, perplexing trick. Thus, the move from defensive end to outside linebacker for nine-year Saints veteran Will ...

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Old 07-29-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
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Bottle the “old dog, new trick” cliché. It doesn’t really apply if the new trick that allegedly is being taught isn’t totally a new, perplexing trick.

Thus, the move from defensive end to outside linebacker for nine-year Saints veteran Will Smith hasn’t been as much of a Rosetta Stone as it could have been, or as many may have perceived it to be.

“It really hasn’t been that hard of a transition,” Smith said. “The hardest part is probably the individual part, with (linebackers coach) Joe Vitt, just him working the (linebackers). Overall, I look at the position as an extension from defensive end. I have some drop responsibility but most of the time I’m doing the same things I’ve always done.

“Typically, I’m not going to be covering the ‘X’ or the ‘Z’ receiver. I’m going to stick with mostly the tight ends and running backs.”

That’s not to suggest it totally is a glove-on-hand fit. Smith, after all, has played all of his 139 NFL games at defensive end, 120 of them starts. To suggest that he seamlessly, and uneventfully, was prepared for the transition probably wouldn’t give proper credit to players who have played the position and studied the craft for years.

“I have to do coverages, I have to do linebacker drills, I do a little special teams now,” he said. “So I do a lot of different things than I was doing the previous nine years.”

But Smith, who dropped 10 pounds in order to help ease the move and said he now carries around his rookie weight (268 to 270 pounds) from 2004, doesn’t at all sound lost or intimidated when discussing his position and role.

He is, in fact, working with the first unit, lining up in both outside linebacker positions (Jack and Sam) according to the play that has been called.

“Will’s doing an excellent job,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said. “I know he’s had his hand in the dirt his whole life (as a defensive lineman), but some of those guys make great outside linebackers in a 3-4.

“Coverage is coming along pretty good – he works hard at it. So he’s got a big chance to do well there and improve. The nice thing is, you’re going to be able to get an edge set with Will Smith, that’s for sure.”

Guaranteed, New Orleans also always will get professionalism.

Smith has been nothing if not that during his career, which has seen him register 67.5 sacks (fourth in team history) and 19 forced fumbles.

That helps explain why, at the behest of his coaches, he dropped weight in order to be better equipped to handle the responsibilities of the position.

“I’m looking a lot sleeker, back at my rookie weight,” he joked. “They wanted me to lose some weight and it’s paying off. We had the hard conditioning test (when the team reported last Thursday) and losing the weight helped me have a great time, and doing a lot of running that we’re doing in practice and a lot of different stuff that I’m not used to, I think losing the weight helped me a lot.”

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Old 07-29-2013, 08:26 PM   #2
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

"The nice thing is, you’re going to be able to get an edge set with Will Smith, that’s for sure.”
He's going to be a stud against the rush!
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:03 PM   #3
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

The real test. Live action.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:12 PM   #4
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

glad to hear he has dropped some weight... being at 270 compared to 285-290 is a big deal, this should give Smith a burst. I am excited to see what Smith can do at OLB.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:40 PM   #5
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

Instead of writing Saints organization propaganda from the Times-Pic, Deshazier now works directly for the organization.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:50 PM   #6
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

So I think I know what we’re doing. I know I do – I could pretend I don’t, but I know I do.

Oh Rob, you're so modest!
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:53 AM   #7
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

Got to keep that weight off. He'll probably drop another ten before the end of camp. If he stays within that range I could see him being a decent force back there. Covering TE's though...that is probably not going to go well.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:26 AM   #8
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

Hummmm Smith on Gonzalez I am not too sure I can get excited about that possible match up week 1.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:00 AM   #9
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

Originally Posted by TheOak View Post
Hummmm Smith on Gonzalez I am not too sure I can get excited about that possible match up week 1.
This really made me chuckle. The article was really positive and a great read. Definitely doesn't mean anything until the pads are on and we are in a live scenario but this is the first test and not one that ultimately fills me with confidence. One of the greatest Tight Ends of all time (I'm sure some will argue that but we know he is damn good!) against someone transitioning to the position in his first ever pro outing...

I'll be looking to make sure Kenny V steps up behind him!
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:34 AM   #10
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Re: John DeShazier: Will Smith making a seamless switch to outside linebacker

These guys don't normally say bad things about the players do they?
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