New Orleans Saints: Players To Watch During San Francisco 49ers Game
By Keith Null
Rookie linebacker Martez Wilson will see his first game action as a Saint. Wilson is superbly athletic and was the fastest linebacker tested at this years combine, but is a developmental prospect the Saints hope will one day become the teams starting strong side linebacker. Tonight we all will get our first look at how he performs on the field, which will give us a better understanding on in if he will actually compete to become a starter this year or be used in a situational role in the defense.
Outside linebacker, both strong and weak side, are up for grabs this season. Will Herring and Clint Ingram and primarily competing on the strong side with Scott Shanle and Jonathan Casillas duking it out on the weak side. Veteran Danny Clark was tabbed as the starter at strong side heading into this game, but his release has cleared the way for Herring to step up into a starting role. To open the Saints are probably going to use Herring as the starter at strong side, Shanle at weakside, and of course Jonathan Vilma at middle linebacker. The rest will be rotated in throughout the game which should make for an interesting position battle to watch. The Saints have wanted to get younger and faster at both outside spots, will a dark horse emerge as a contender?
Full back is another great positions battle to watch out for, after the teams decision not to return former starter Heath Evans. Currently Korey Hall, formerly of the Green Bay Packers, and fourth-year journeyman Jed Collins are dead locked in an intense battle to secure the starting spot. Should one or the other lay a good lead block and spring a running back for a big gain or a touchdown score, it could fare very well for their chances to make the final roster. It’s highly doubtful the Saints will keep more then one full back this season making the margin for error very slim.
Darren Sproles, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Joique Bell, Lance Moore, and both rookie receivers Jarred Fayson and Joe Morgan are getting a look as punt/kick returners to fill the role left by Reggie Bush. Sproles, Moore, Meachem, and Henderson are a lock to make the final roster while Bell, Fayson, and Morgan are anything but guaranteed a spot. How the three perform on special teams tonight could be a major deciding factor on whether they stick with the team during final cuts.
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