Going into Sunday’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints cornerback Elbert Mack might be getting a shot to play as the starting cornerback for the team in the absence of Jabari Greer who is out with a concussion.
While interim head coach Joe Vitt said that option would be looked at tonight, there really shouldn’t be any question on if Mack should get the nod or not. There really is only one other option which would be fellow cornerback Johnny Patrick.
Last season Patrick looked like he could be a future starter for the Saints and was expected to be the starting nickel corner going into training camp. But Patrick was injured in the first game of the season and since his return, hasn’t played like many expected him to.
In fact, Patrick’s inability to fully grasp defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme and inconsistent play allowed rookie Corey White to take the nickel spot until his knee injury and eventual placement on injured reserve. Enter Elbert Mack.
Mack started his journey to the Saints via one of their NFC South rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Troy in 2008. His senior year of college saw Mack register 8 interceptions which was the most in the nation that year.
While with the Buccaneers from 2008-2011, Mack played in 58 games, starting four of those, and had five interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. When Greg Schiano took over as head coach though, Mack was left to explore free agency.
He signed with New Orleans going into training camp and lasted until final cuts when he was released right before the regular season. Mack would be signed, released, and then signed again between October 3rd and October 8th.
Mack has been in six games this season and got some notice for his play against the Oakland Raiders where he showed his ability to break on the football as well as tackle.
It was against the New York Giants where Mack got major attention when he intercepted an Eli Manning pass and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. Although the Saints lost, Mack won a role in the Saints defense.