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Will Smith will start Saints OTAs as a linebacker

Will Smith AP

Will Smith had to take a huge pay cut to stay a Saint.

Now, he’s making another significant adjustment.

According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times Picayune, Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis said Smith will open OTAs as an outside linebacker.

The Saints need help at the position, as signing former Cowboys backup Victor Butler was the extent of the additions there. And while Butler could be a good addition — he was productive in spot duty behind two stars in Dallas — the Saints need more.

How the 6-foot-3, 282-pound Smith holds up while standing up will be a key. He’s been a good-not-great pass-rusher in the past, but he’s probably going to need to drop some weight, in hopes of being more fluid than he’s been in the past.

On the surface, it looks like a bit of a desperation move, as the Saints weren’t able to make enough transactions in one offseason to fix a defense that was statistically the worst in league history.

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16 Responses to “Will Smith will start Saints OTAs as a linebacker”
  1. rickastleydancemoves says: May 20, 2013 9:49 AM

    Maybe Jada can play some cornerback.

  2. omniscient48 says: May 20, 2013 10:10 AM

    Way WAY too slow to play linebacker.

  3. cpo187 says: May 20, 2013 10:14 AM

    This guy is too big to be a LB. Might as well call him a outside defensive end since he will basically line up outside the DE to be a 5th lineman.

  4. saintmyfault says: May 20, 2013 10:18 AM

    Worth a shot. How about Roman Harper as a LB? I mean might as well give it a try too. Even if the Saints are just a top 20 defense they should make some noise in the NFC with that offense.

  5. michaeljacksonisback says: May 20, 2013 10:20 AM

    A 300 pound linebacker?!! Get real

  6. musicman495 says: May 20, 2013 11:04 AM

    This is a desperation move by Smith, not the Saints. They probably told him there is no room for him at DE, and they and would cut him if he did not try OLB.

    This media canard that the Saints have no one to play 3-4 OLB is absurd, as they already have people like Junior Galette and Martez Wilson, who both might be better suited to 3-4 OLB than 4-3 DE.

    And than you saintmyfault for your mention of trying Harper at LB. I have been wondering about that for months, as a move like that could maximize Harper’s effectiveness rushing the passer, while exposing him to pass coverage mostly against backs instead of TE’s or WR’s. As a Redskins fan I recall the great Monte Coleman who played college safety, but switched to OLB as a pro very successfully.

  7. salmen76 says: May 20, 2013 11:04 AM

    Saints D will be fine this year. Ya don’t have to improve much when ya finished last the year before. The year the Saints won the SB the D was ranked just 22nd (worst ranked D to ever win SB) but they were second in the league in turn overs that season. We have coach back also which is huge. It’s hard enough to win in the NFL with your coach imagine trying to win without him! And Rob Ryan’s aggressive 3-4 D will keep opponents under a lot of pressure and off balance. They’ll produce a lot of 3 and outs and a lot of turnovers. That will put the ball in the hands of Brees and the best offense in the NFL a lot more often. Saints will win the NFC this year and will also win the SB! Again! Geaux Saints!

  8. jcmeyer10 says: May 20, 2013 11:07 AM

    Desperation is a stinky cologne.

  9. htowntexan13 says: May 20, 2013 11:34 AM

    Mario Williams was doing good as a 3-4 OLB. I think he had like 5 or 6 sacks before he got hurt.

  10. 450rmack says: May 20, 2013 11:34 AM

    It’s definitely not a desperation move for lack of LBs. They have Gallette, Wilson, Rufus (rookie) and Chase Thomas that will all be fighting for a starting job there. Seems like they’re a little desperate to find a way to have all their best players on the field at the same time to me. They really want to start Hicks at DE and this has pushed Smith to LB. I agree that Hicks is better than Smith at DE but he’s also better than Jenkins at NT. It would make more sense to leave Hicks at NT and Smith at DE and allow Gallette or Wilson to play LB. However, Smith is fast enough to play LB, I just think it’s kind of late to start training him to play a different position. Let him finish his career as a DE and next year make the move of Hicks to DE. I guess that makes too much sense though.

  11. nonyt says: May 20, 2013 12:44 PM

    “They really want to start Hicks at DE and this has pushed Smith to LB. I agree that Hicks is better than Smith at DE but he’s also better than Jenkins at NT. It would make more sense to leave Hicks at NT and Smith at DE and allow Gallette or Wilson to play LB. However, Smith is fast enough to play LB, I just think it’s kind of late to start training him to play a different position.”

    This maybe true true but Hicks is better suited to play DE. Putting him in at NT when other options are available at that position would be a waste of Hicks’ talent. Who knows, maybe Smith can handle being an OLB. You just said it, “Hicks is better than Smith at DE” and “Smith is fast enough to play LB.”

  12. 450rmack says: May 20, 2013 1:33 PM

    No doubt, Hicks is our best option at DE and NT. However, I’m not for having Hicks and Smith moving to new positions while also training Jenkins to play NT in the NFL. Our best lineup would be Smith at DE and Hicks at NT while playing Jenkins sparingly at NT when Hicks slides to DE and Smith comes out for a breather. I don’t think Jenkins can play every snap at NT nor Smith every snap at LB. I’d rather have a rotation of all 3 of those guys along the line instead of training Smith to play LB. Next year will be different bc Smith is most likely gone and Hicks will have already taken some snaps as a DE. I just don’t like all these changes happening at once.

  13. nathpz says: May 20, 2013 2:12 PM

    At Smith’s size playing him at DE makes so much more sense. Actually, at his age and contract, cutting him makes the most sense, but they don’t want to do that for some cap-related reason, I assume.

  14. larryjames836 says: May 20, 2013 3:17 PM

    Sean Payton & Rob Ryan knows what each player can and cannot do, Will Smith wouldn’t have to lose that much weight just enough to move around a little quicker. Will Smith is the man for the job because he has some speed I don’t see any problem with it. Rob Ryan is a man that know matter what he going to pressure his opponents offensive line, he did it on the New Orleans Saints offensive line the best in the NFL. This is why Sean Payton bought Rob Ryan in to be part of the Saints, and plus Rob Ryan is a 3-4 coach the Saints will be alright in 2013. Sean Payton had enough time to study all the other teams offense and defense, you learn more about your team and the other teams from afar off so Sean Payton had a new plan for the New Orleans Saints.

  15. numberonesaintsfan says: May 20, 2013 3:41 PM

    Backup/depth player this year, cut next year. Better to have him stay at DE that try to lose weight to be faster at linebacker.

  16. ilovefoolsball says: May 21, 2013 10:37 PM

    htowntexan13 says:
    May 20, 2013 11:34 AM
    Mario Williams was doing good as a 3-4 OLB. I think he had like 5 or 6 sacks before he got hurt.
    ______
    Mario Williams greatest claim to fame was being drafted before Reggie Bush and we see how that worked out.

    Reggie got a Superbowl ring and Mario now plays in Buffalo.

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