December 16, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive back Rafael Bush (25) returns an interception as Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) attempts to make a tackle during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Preparations will begin in the following weeks for the New Orleans Saints to start building their draft boards and evaluating players for the 2013-2014 season. There were several that made a great jump when they needed it for a chance for more playing time next year.
When safety Malcolm Jenkins was placed on injured reserve on Saturday, backup Isa Abdul-Quddus was given the nod to start in his place which in turn bumped up some more playing time for safety Rafael Bush who had mainly been on special teams duty.
Quddus had an interception last week against the New York Giants which was the first of his career. He snagged his second one on a floater from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.
The other good thing about Quddus is that along with his skills at catching the ball, he isn’t afraid to be aggressive with tackling and is decent when it comes to coverage for a safety.
Bush, who ironically wears former running back Reggie Bush’s #25, acted more like Reggie when after intercepting a Freeman pass on Sunday ducked and dodged his way and returned the interception for 40 yards.
The good thing about both players is that they are in their sophomore season in the NFL and seem to have grasped defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme fairly well.
The other positive about the two safeties is that not only can they play their roles on the field, but are also useful on special teams as well which is a double bonus.
A third secondary player that definitely needs more playing time is cornerback Elbert Mack who was brought back mid-season after injuries began to mount and cornerback Johnny Patrick didn’t seem to be able to step up in the nickel cornerback role.
Rookie cornerback Corey White was beginning to shine but has missed the past few games with a knee injury that has flared up. It speaks volume that Mack has received more playing time over Patrick who was supposed to be the main candidate for that position.