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Saints' Hicks won't take starting role for granted

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Hardly two years removed from playing college football on a 12-man defense in western Canada, Akiem Hicks is primed to emerge as a full-time starter on an NFL defensive line. Just don't tell him that, because ...

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Old 08-16-2013, 12:58 PM   #1
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METAIRIE, La. (AP) -- Hardly two years removed from playing college football on a 12-man defense in western Canada, Akiem Hicks is primed to emerge as a full-time starter on an NFL defensive line.

Just don't tell him that, because he won't even admit to being encouraged by the fact that he played with the starting unit in the New Orleans Saints' preseason opener and is regularly practicing with the first team.

''Not yet, because there's so much more to go,'' said Hicks said, referencing a metaphor defensive line coach Bill Johnson uses about each day of good work amounting to nothing more than a bean in a jar, which has to be full to represent a good season.

''I don't have enough beans to be encouraged yet.''

Maybe not, but his effort in practice on Tuesday certainly seemed worthy of another bean.

He was a force in 11-on-11 drills, registering what would have been a sack on Drew Brees if he were allowed to touch the quarterback. Later, during a 2-minute drill, he had two more standout moments. First he batted down one of Brees' passes, then he perfectly read a screen pass to Darren Sproles, who Hicks wrapped up for a 4-yard loss in a 2-minute drill.

The 6-foot-5 Hicks, who said he now weighs about 330 pounds, is currently playing the left defensive end in coordinator Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense (three linemen, four linebackers). Last year as a rookie, drafted in the third round out of the University of Regina (Saskatchewan), Hicks played reserve defensive tackle in a 4-3, then made the transition this year to what Johnson calls ''the most physical position on our defense.''

It wasn't clear whether Hicks would emerge as a starter when 2013 training camp opened because the Saints had signed 11-year veteran defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman, who had played the past two seasons in Ryan's 3-4 defense in Dallas. Last week, however, Coleman tore a pectoral muscle, which has likely ended his season.


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Old 08-17-2013, 07:00 AM   #2
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Re: Saints' Hicks won't take starting role for granted

Hicks, who grew up near Sacramento, was recruited by LSU out of the community college ranks, but an NCAA violation related to financial help provided by an assistant coach left him ineligible to play in the United States, hence his move to Canada, where he thrived as a stand-up defensive end.
''What was hard was to evaluate him versus the people he was against,'' Johnson said. ''It wasn't like if he had went to LSU and stayed. You could evaluate him against guys who would potentially be in this league. It was like guys that were just little kids and he was obviously dominating up there.''



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Old 08-19-2013, 05:31 PM   #3
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Re: Saints' Hicks won't take starting role for granted

How was he this weekend?
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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Re: Saints' Hicks won't take starting role for granted

OK we've got the left side sealed off..............
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Old 08-19-2013, 06:08 PM   #5
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Re: Saints' Hicks won't take starting role for granted

Hicks-Bunkley-Jordan could end up being one of the best 3 man fronts in the league this year. Factor in being able to rotate Glenn Foster and John Jenkins in and out and that could be one formidable D-Line!
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