2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints hope injury bug doesn't derail pass defense

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-26 17:52

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - Injuries in New Orleans' defensive backfield have yet to stop the Saints from fielding one of the best pass defenses in the NFL.

They can only hope that trend holds in this Sunday's regular season finale against Tampa Bay, which will mark the first full game without standout rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro.

''It seems like every week it's a different little lineup and little shake-up,'' said veteran strong safety Roman Harper, who could see more action this week because of Vaccaro's absence. ''But at the end of the day, we've all got to depend on everybody. Whoever's in, we've got to make some plays. It definitely will hurt us without Kenny.''

Vaccaro fractured his left fibula late in the first quarter of last Sunday's 17-13 loss at Carolina, becoming the third regular in the defensive backfield to go down with a season-ending injury. Cornerback Patrick Robinson went out for the year with a right knee injury in Week 2 at Tampa Bay. In Week 11 against San Francisco, starting cornerback Jabari Greer went out for the year with a left knee injury.

And throughout the season, other defensive backs, including Harper earlier this season and safety Rafael Bush more recently, have missed several weeks apiece with various injuries. Harper returned six games ago from a knee injury, while Bush has missed the past three games with a high right ankle sprain.

Through it all, the Saints have allowed only 192.7 yards passing per game, which ranks second in the NFL.

''They've had some tough injuries, some tough breaks for them, but the guys they have playing have a lot of talent as well,'' Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon said, noting in particular what he saw on video of how New Orleans held Carolina to 10 points last Sunday until the Panthers' winning TD in the final minute. ''Holding that Panthers offense, which is an explosive offense, to not a lot of points really until that last drive ... shows they have a lot of talent there.''

Bush has returned to practice this week, providing hope he'll be able to help fill the void caused by Vaccaro's absence.

''If I feel I can go out there and not be a liability, then of course I'll go out there and play,'' Bush said Thursday after participating fully in practice. ''I'm excited. It's been a while, so I just want to make sure I can go out there and help the team play - and win.''

The consensus among Saints players and coaches is that losing Vaccaro will hurt. He was third on the team in total tackles with 77. He had one interception and also was credited with a sack, a forced fumble and four tackles for losses.

''Losing a player like Kenny is tough because he had really established himself,'' coach Sean Payton said. ''But the next guy will step up. We'll have a plan.''

Add free safety Malcolm Jenkins: ''Obviously just his style of play, his production, is going to be a big loss.''

But Jenkins, who was drafted as a cornerback in 2009 and has experience defending slot receivers as the nickel back in a five-defensive back formation, said the Saints have versatility in their favor.

''You can still move me and Roman around, or push (cornerback) Corey White in to help take that (nickel back) role,'' Jenkins said. ''We have a lot of guys that can move around to a lot of different positions, so I don't think we'll be limited at all as far as scheme.''

And if Bush returns, all the better, Jenkins said.

''The thing about Raf is he's very talented, very athletic,'' Jenkins said, adding that Bush covers tight ends well, something Vaccaro also did. ''He's got range, so he can play deep, he plays the ball well, he tackles really well, which is probably one of his best attributes. ... We're comfortable with him out there.''

NOTES: The Saints had nine players listed on their injury report, but did not have any players listed as limited or not participating in practice. All practiced fully with various ailments, including quarterback Drew Brees, who has a right knee bruise.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tyler EifertJul 30 03:23p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert said he is 100% healthy for the first time since the beginning of last offseason.

LeGarrette BlountJul 30 01:22p

New England Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount was placed on the Non-Football Injury list because he was not able to complete the conditioning test at the start of training camp. [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJul 30 01:02p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) said his hamstrings are fine and that he is 100% healthy entering training camp.

Terrance WestJul 30 12:52p

Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West worked with the first-team offense during team drills Thursday, July 30. Head coach Mike Pettine said several running backs will see time with the starters during training camp.

Trent RichardsonJul 30 10:22a

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson is rumored to being unimpressive with his new team.

Tom BradyJul 30 10:12a

Updating an ongoing story, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's lawsuit was transferred to Manhattan, N.Y., by a Minnesota judge Friday, July 30.

Tom BradyJul 30 09:52a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has filed a lawsuit against the NFL asking a Minnesota federal court for penalties against Brady to be vacated. The suit alleges that [ More ]

Jake LongJul 30 09:42a

Free-agent OT Jake Long (Rams) left his visit with the New York Giants Wednesday, July 29, without a deal. It was his second visit with the team without a [ More ]

Joseph RandleJul 29 08:43p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle received strong praise from team owner and general manager Jerry Jones Wednesday July 29. 'We have a player (in Randle) that has the potential [ More ]

Joique BellJul 29 07:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (undisclosed) was placed on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, July 29, as he recovers from offseason surgery. It is unclear what the [ More ]

James WrightJul 29 06:43p

Free-agent WR James Wright (Bengals) was placed on Reserve/Injured Wednesday, July 29.

Jordan ReedJul 29 05:43p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (knee) has been cleared for full participation in training camp, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

Chase CoffmanJul 29 04:53p

Free-agent TE Chase Coffman (Titans) re-signed with the Tennessee Titans Wednesday, July 29, according to a source.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) can be placed on the Non-Football Injury list if/when he signs his franchise tender. Owner John Mara said the team would like [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 29 04:23p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) is receiving his own medical treatment and rehabilitation at his home. There is currently no timetable for his return. Pierre-Paul, however, could [ More ]

Roddy WhiteJul 29 03:43p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (knee) had his left knee drained before minicamp, and he could have it drained again before the season ends. White isn't concerned about it, [ More ]

Ryan KerriganJul 29 01:43p

Washington Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday, July 29, worth $11.5 million per season, according to a source. The deal includes a $16 million signing bonus.

Cyrus GrayJul 29 01:13p

Kansas City Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray was released Wednesday, July 29.

Carlos HydeJul 29 11:13a

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde is not believed to be injured and shouldn't be on the non-football injury list for long. Hyde suffered a calf injury during spring [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 09:23a

Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady posted on Facebook that he replaced his broken phone with a new one after his attorneys told the NFL 'my [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 29 01:53a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have had his suspended reduced based on a series of conditions. According to a source with knowledge of [ More ]

Eric BerryJul 29 01:43a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (illness) has been cleared to take the practice field with the team Wednesday, July 29. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in December [ More ]

Geno SmithJul 28 08:03p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith could be benched if he struggles early in the season, according to head coach Todd Bowles Tuesday, July 28. 'If you feel that [ More ]

Ryan WilliamsJul 28 05:53p

Dallas Cowboys RB Ryan Williams (knee) was placed on Reserve/Injured Tuesday, July 28.

Brodrick BunkleyJul 28 05:43p

New Orleans Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley (undisclosed) was released with a failed physical designation Tuesday, July 28.

James WrightJul 28 05:33p

Cincinnati Bengals WR James Wright (knee) was waived with an injured designation Tuesday, July 28.

Darrin ReavesJul 28 05:33p

Carolina Panthers RB Darrin Reaves was waived Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 05:13p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is facing a four-game suspension, but the Patriots have done fairly well without him. In games Brady has missed since he became a [ More ]

Tom BradyJul 28 04:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady has given permission to the NFL Players Association to appeal his case in federal court, according to a source. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell [ More ]

Lamar MillerJul 28 03:43p

Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller may see an increase in carries in 2015, according to head coach Joe Philbin. 'If he's cranking and he got it 24 times a [ More ]

Le'Veon BellJul 28 03:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell's original three-game suspension has been reduced to a two-game suspension Tuesday, July 28.

Tom BradyJul 28 02:53p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday, July 28.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group