The headlines are numerous as the New Orleans Saints continue OTAs that are finally open to the public. Today we’ll take a look at Will Smith’s new role, Darren Sproles and some under-the-radar player heading into next season.
Let’s get started.
Per NOLA.com’s Larry Holder:
When asked if it would have taken more arm-twisting to keep him as a 3-4 defensive end in Ryan’s scheme, Smith said he’s felt like a 3-4 end the past few seasons. Smith was shifted inside to defensive tackle at times under former coordinator Steve Spagnuolo during passing situations, and Smith played in numerous 3-4 formations under Gregg Williams, who preceded Spagnuolo.
Per Jeff Duncan the players are:
1. Corey White: All eyes have been on rookie safety Kenny Vacarro and free-agent cornerback Keenan Lewis in the secondary but the second-year corner from Samford has looked extremely polished. He’s carrying himself more confidently in his second season and is going to be in the mix for playing time at cornerback. White has the size (6 feet 1, 205 pounds) and physical strength new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan likes in his defensive backs. He’s looked as good as any defensive back on the roster this offseason.
A.J. Davis, Eric Olsen, Rafael Bush, Travaris Cadet, Saalim Hakim.
Per NOLA.com’s Mike Triplett:
Getting Sproles more involved this year will certainly rank as one of Coach Sean Payton’s top priorities as he tries to revive his dominant offense this season.
All three of the Saints’ top tailbacks — Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram — should have more productive seasons now that fellow tailback Chris Ivory has been traded to the New York Jets and the team is so focused on improving the run game.
“We knew last year, that wasn’t the kind of year that we wanted. So we’ll try to get better this year,” Sproles said of himself and the Saints’ offense. “And it helps that (Payton) is here.”
Per ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas:
Payton gave a vague answer Wednesday when asked if he or offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael will call the plays.
“We haven’t worked through all that yet,’’ Payton said during Wednesday’s minicamp. “But Pete’s invaluable. His role will be significant.’’
Carmichael has called the plays much of the past two seasons. He was the sole playcaller last season when Payton was serving a suspension and the Saints put a productive offense on the field. In 2011, Carmichael took over play-calling duties after Payton suffered a broken leg and a knee injury in a sideline collision.