New Orleans Saints Lawrence Wilson and Barrett Ruud probably didn’t expect to see playing time so quickly at the middle linebacker position but with injuries to Curtis Lofton, Chris Chamberlain, and now Ramon Humber, that’s where they’ll be for the rest of the preseason.
Lofton(ankle) says he will be playing Week 1, but with his backup Chamberlain(ACL) out for the season and Humber(hamstring) out for ten days, there needs to be an insurance policy. Enter Wilson and Ruud as the new backup middle linebackers.
Wilson is slated to be the starting middle linebacker for this Saturday against the Houston Texans and interim head coach Joe Vitt said today that Ruud might come in for the second-half to play some since he’s coming along at a nice pace.
I’d look for the same setup against the Tennessee Titans next Thursday if everything holds like it is. Ruud should definitely be in the game then if not this week. Although Vitt said he could play this Saturday, it wouldn’t be surprising if he didn’t.
They certainly don’t want to rush Ruud into the game since he’s brand new to the system and also due to his injury history. If Ruud gets hurt, they will have to do some major shifting at the linebacker position.
Some thought was given to swapping defensive end Martez Wilson back to linebacker, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said they will keep him where he is.
Another reason to preserve Ruud is the fact that if he isn’t available to play Week 1, the Saints will have a major wrinkle. Wilson will be serving a one-game suspension while Humber serves a four-game suspension, both for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Wilson if anyone should play hard for the time he is given since he could be on the chopping block for the roster. He made a game-clinching interception in the Hall of Fame Game, but has been quiet ever since. He needs to make the most of his playing time for the next few games.