New Orleans Saints rookie Stephone Anthony gluing in with first-team defense


New Orleans Saints rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony has been the talk of training camp on the defensive side of the ball, showing time and time again that he may be capable of absorbing a starting role very soon.

When Dannell Ellerbe was out for several days, David Hawthorne slid over into the ‘Will’ linebacker position, and Anthony took over the ‘Mike’ job in the middle of the Saints’ listed 4-3 scheme.  Instead of having trouble with the first string defense, Anthony fended off any sort of rookie stereotypes, communicating well as the play caller and making stops and tackles behind the line of scrimmage.  He’s been displaying his talents like a true veteran, not a rookie.

On several occasions, Stephone Anthony took reps with the first-team since camp kicked off almost two weeks ago.  He was at it again Tuesday wearing the headset, making the calls and shining with the starters.  Hawthorne now seems to be affixed into the second-team defense, but nothing is set in stone this early on in camp and the preseason.

The Saints drafted Anthony with what many experts believed to be too early of a pick, but so far, he’s done nothing but prove the critics wrong.  His size, speed, versatility and intelligence continue to be praised by heads coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

New Orleans is hoping for a rebound year in 2015 after failing to make the playoffs in an unfashionable manner.  The Black and Gold struggled mightily on the defensive side of the ball.  Miscommunication on all ends of the spectrum is what I like to call it.  Missed tackles, bad reads, lack of leadership, whatever it was, it was atrocious.

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With a handful of personnel changes in both the coaching and player departments, the Saints are looking to overcome whatever mishaps led them to an uncharacteristic season a year ago.  The addition of Stephone Anthony could be one of many steps in the right direction.  A player of his caliber and with his leadership qualities can help transform a locker room.

New Orleans Saints fans will finally get to see their first-round pick in action firsthand when the club travels to Charm City to take on the Baltimore Ravens in Thursday’s preseason opener.  The Stephone Anthony era has begun.

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