The New Orleans Saints seem to be doing a bit of patchwork at the linebacker position since this past Friday. With three starters on the mend, the coaching staff and front office are struggling to fill the holes and it has been nor will it be an easy task.
It almost seems like a “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” situation at linebacker. With Chris Chamberlain(ACL) done for the season, Ramon Humber was thought to be a suitable replacement as a backup for the weakside linebacker spot.
Yet Humber is facing a three-game suspension for violating the league substance abuse policy during the regular season. On top of that, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton(ankle) is out for the preseason and interim head coach Joe Vitt is giving Lawrence Wilson the nod at that spot on Saturday against the Houston Texans.
But like Humber, Wilson is also facing a one game suspension for violating the league substance abuse policy. The positive is that Lofton said he will return by Week 1 of the regular season which is when Wilson will serve his suspension and Lofton is the starter anyway.
Starting weakside linebacker David Hawthorne’s situation is a bit trickier because he had surgery the other day on a torn meniscus in his knee and was seen today on crutches. He did not speak with the media and no clear timetable has been given on his return.
If push comes to shove, the Saints still have Jonathan Casillas and Will Herring who can step in at Hawthorne’s spot. Casillas has been having a great camp but the only red flag for him and Herring is their ability to stay healthy, which they both have struggled at especially Casillas.
Even though Lofton says he will play regardless, the Saints acquired Barrett Ruud from the Seattle Seahawks via trade. He is also a middle linebacker, but with past health issues as well. Ruud took his physical on Tuesday which he passed, but would be surprising if he played Saturday.