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papz 09-04-2013 07:40 PM

New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form
 
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In a sense, linebacker David Hawthorne has a chance to make the biggest impact of any "newcomer" in the New Orleans Saints lineup this season. Even though he was around all last year.

Hawthorne, 28, knows that wasn't really him on the field last season - the guy who was sapped of his usual explosion because of a preseason knee injury and a September hamstring injury.

Now healthy, Hawthorne is clearly energized and excited about his opportunity to redeem himself while starting in place of injured veteran Jonathan Vilma, who was placed on short-term injured reserve this week.

"I'm just excited to be healthy. To be healthy and to be able to help the team, which is what I came here to do," said Hawthorne, who signed a five-year, $19 million contract as a free agent from the Seattle Seahawks last year.

Hawthorne was so-so, at best last year, with a total of 43 tackles, no sacks and no forced turnovers in 11 games. Like the rest of the Saints' outside linebackers, he got burned too often around the edges by big cutback runs.

In Hawthorne's defense, he bounced around from the weak side to the less-familiar strong side - and it seemed like every player on the Saints' defense struggled to find a comfortable fit in coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's scheme last year.

But along the way, Hawthorne became an afterthought rather than a guy who was firing up the fan base this offseason.

That can change if the 6-foot, 246-pounder can indeed get back to his peak form in new coordinator Rob Ryan's more versatile, attacking scheme.

Although Hawthorne has never played in a 3-4 scheme before, he's a self-described "jack of all trades" who said he's done a little bit of everything now that he's played for five different defensive coordinators in six NFL seasons.

Hawthorne had some pretty good years in more than one of those systems. And he could easily wind up being an upgrade over Vilma if he can once again be the guy who racked up more than 100 tackles in three straight seasons for the Seahawks from 2009-2011.

The guy who flashed dynamic playmaking ability with seven interceptions, six sacks and four forced fumbles during that span - including an interception he returned 77 yards for a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Read more: New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form | NOLA.com

|Mitch| 09-04-2013 07:51 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form
 
He almost had that int against the Texans where he read the QB broke off his assignment, and had that pass breakup.

Gonna be fun to see a LB keep making plays like that...

homerj07 09-04-2013 07:58 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form
 
Well I'd be as pleased as punch if he put up those type of stats. That would be a good replacement for Vilma (at 2009 levels)

jeanpierre 09-05-2013 06:31 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form
 
Anyone's an upgrade when he's injured or playing limited; love the guy but his mind has recognized the reality that his body is failing him...

Rugby Saint II 09-05-2013 02:14 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form
 
Hawthorne should be more than adequate........he might even be real good. Humber is the wild card here. How often will he get snaps? He'll probably get in on certain packages and might increase his playing time.

Utah_Saint 09-05-2013 03:11 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints David Hawthorne could be upgrade over Jonathan Vilma if he returns to peak form
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II (Post 523737)
Hawthorne should be more than adequate........he might even be real good. Humber is the wild card here. How often will he get snaps? He'll probably get in on certain packages and might increase his playing time.

I'd like to see how Humber does in coverage. Passes over the middle killed us last year.


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