Aug 16, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) tackles Oakland Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes (18) during the second half of a preseason game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Raiders 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
The praise continues to roll in for New Orleans Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro as he makes the difficult transition to the NFL and take on Rob Ryan’s challenging 3-4 scheme.
Both Ryan and head coach Sean Payton are extremely pleased with Vaccaro’s progress through his first two NFL games as the team preps for a Week 3 showdown with the Arizona Cardinals.
Here’s what Payton had to say:
"“Yes, when you make a selection like that, you certainly see a guy who is athletic, (and) who has good football instincts. The challenge in his evaluation is he spent a lot of his season last year playing that nickel and so you don’t see him in the normal safety role on film a lot. He has handled that very quickly and so to his credit, he is someone that works hard at it. He understands the game. He is very physical. It has happened quickly for him, but it’s a good thing. I think the challenge for us in the evaluation is seeing him in nickel a lot more than half field or strong or free safety position.”"
"“Absolutely. We drafted a special guy there. Mickey Loomis and Ryan Pace and Sean (Payton) wanted this guy. When I had just gotten introduced to him, the first thing that jumped out I said, ‘Sweet tats he’s got.’ The second thing is how much he loves football. You can do so many things with him. We’re just scratching the surface with this guy, I think. He’s got a lot of talent. He can play man coverage, he can blitz, he can play zone, he’s smart, he’s tough. There’s a lot of great things about this guy, and probably the best is how much he loves football.”"
We’ve said from the beginning Vaccaro was a great pick because of his versatility, but no one could have predicted Vaccaro would come on this fast and play this well.
The praise means a lot coming from the two most important NFL people in Vaccaro’s world.
The crazy part? We’ve only seen Vaccaro play in two NFL games. The best is yet to come.
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