New Orleans Saints Defense: Who's On The Bubble?

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Saints DC Gregg Williams Talks With Middle Linebacker Jonathan Vilma (Source: nj.com)

I know that roster moves can’t be made right now with the lockout.  Speculation is abound with what will happen once a deal is done.  I believe that both offense and defense deserve their own article, so I decided to tackle the defense first.  No pun intended.

I’ll just say that I do not envy New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis or Head Coach Sean Payton.  With 20+ free agents on the Saints roster, making deals and releasing players won’t be easy. <

Both Loomis and Payton have made moves that have shocked, excited, and confused me.  Sometimes all at once.

The defense looks like it is a rebuilding phase after this last season and we probably will see some player’s who are “on the bubble” be released.  Being “on the bubble” as an NFL player is not the best place to be.

It basically means you are pretty much day by day in terms of your roster spot.  A few bad reps in practice, a missed assignment, dropped passes and inconsistent play mean the demise of a “on the bubble” player.

There are of course some that are safe either because of their consistent contributions or contract situations.  Player’s like Defensive Tackle Sedrick Ellis, Defensive End Will Smith, Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Cornerbacks Tracy Porter, Jabari Greer, and Safety Malcolm Jenkins are pretty much guaranteed to be on the roster.

Also, newly signed players like Nose Tackle Shaun Rogers and incoming rookie Defensive End Cameron Jordan will likely be “in that number”.  Depending on how long the lockout goes, “on the bubble” players futures could go either way.

The longer the lockout, the better their chances.  Safety Darren Sharper even commented to the same issue that he is in as far as the lockout goes.  Which brings me to our first few bubbles that might burst.

In the Saints defensive secondary, Sharper is leading the pack of those that could be released or be resigned.  If the lockout continues, Sharper has a real good chance of staying since, according to him, he is back healthy and knows the defensive scheme well. 

Other Safety’s that are “on the bubble” ,especially because they would be free agents, are:  Roman Harper, Pierson Prioleau, Matt Giordano, Usama Young, Leigh Torrence, and Chris Reis.

I predict that we will see the return of Harper, Sharper,  Reis, Prioleau, and Young if the contracts are right.  Both Harper and Sharper still have much to contribute as safeties.  Reis, Prioleau, and Young are versatile players, both serving time on Special Teams and on the field when needed. 

Torrence has been let go numerous times already and brought back only because of injury’s within the secondary.  Giordano was brought in also because of the injury to Reis and will likely be gone with Torrence. 

Also speeding up their departure is the drafting of third rounder Johnny Patrick who can play Special Teams and Cornerback.

One secondary player I failed to mention was Cornerback Patrick Robinson who was drafted in the first round last year.  He is unique because he was signed to a multi-year contract yet didn’t produce much his first year. 

If his game doesn’t step up quickly, he could also be gone regardless of when he was selected or his multi-year contract.

The Linebacker situation we have is a good one.  With Jonathan Casillas coming off injured reserve, he will once again be in competition for a starting spot.  I think though that Casillas will take a roster spot as a WILL (weakside) Linebacker, which he was originally going  to have do before his injury.

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