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David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s return

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; David Hawthorne has made plays all season for the Saints, long before he smacked Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis on Sunday afternoon’s first play from scrimmage. Jonathan Vilma has made even more plays during his longer Saints tenure. It’s just been ...

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Old 10-30-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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David Hawthorne has made plays all season for the Saints, long before he smacked Buffalo quarterback Thad Lewis on Sunday afternoon’s first play from scrimmage.

Jonathan Vilma has made even more plays during his longer Saints tenure. It’s just been awhile. Now that Vilma’s once-aching knee has recovered from its latest procedure, healthy enough to practice, he’s aiming to return to the field for the first time this fall.

Now, pick your starting inside linebacker.

It’s a decision the Saints (6-1) are forced to make as early as this week as they prepare for Sunday’s game at the New York Jets (4-4).

To an extent, Hawthorne, a sixth-year pro who can play inside or outside at linebacker, and Vilma, whose presnap IQ once defied Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLIV, will make the decision themselves — along with backup Ramon Humber — based on their friendly competition in practice and on gamedays, where Vilma is sure to be a part of the defensive game plan, starter or not.

“Coaches said I looked good running around,” Vilma told The Advocate shortly after his return to practice.

Yet the decision to start one talented player over another can be as much feel and gut reaction as it is based on film study and raw statistics. Even based on how their strengths and weaknesses gel with the teammate next to them. So do you stick with the guy who’s helped the defense enjoy a 12th-overall ranking entering Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium, or take a chance on another guy who has earned enough brownie points for past tackles and locker room leadership that it makes sense to move him back into his former starting role?

It makes for awkward locker room fodder, in a place where just about any conversation is par for the course.

Hawthorne’s 2012 season, his first with the Saints after four years in Seattle, started slow with a hamstring injury. By the time he recovered, he said it was too late for him to feel comfortable on the field.

Not this season.

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Old 10-30-2013, 09:17 AM   #2
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

I don't understand the debate. Coming off a serious injury Vilma can't be expected to just jump into a full-time role. Or can he? There are problems, then there are good problems. This seems to be a good one.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:27 AM   #3
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

dont fix what aint broke. what we have now is working-why mess with it. That being said,Sean will probably play him anyway.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

Part of me thinks don't mess with it at all. Hawthorne is a beast out there.

Another part of me saw some dude named Scott Chandler killing us in the last game and wonders if Vilma's intermediate coverage skills might not be a nice thing to have.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

I think Hawthorne fits Ryan's scheme perfectly and brings more than Vilma as far as power.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:10 PM   #6
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

Everybody gets reps. But, Hawthorne has been playing as well as anybody on defense. Instead of questioning whether Vilma will start or not, let's just hope he can contribute.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:19 PM   #7
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

I could see Vilma getting some snaps in coverage situations, but no way does he steal the majority of snaps from either Hawthorne nor Lofton.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:21 PM   #8
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s retur

Originally Posted by |Mitch| View Post
I could see Vilma getting some snaps in coverage situations, but no way does he steal the majority of snaps from either Hawthorne nor Lofton.
That's what I'm thinking.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:26 PM   #9
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s return

Not even up for debate, Hawthorne made a serious statement against Buffalo.
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Old 10-30-2013, 12:30 PM   #10
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Re: David Hawthorne vying to keep starting with Jonathan Vilma’s return

Ask Thad Lewis if he thinks Hawthorne is good enough to start.
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