It’ll be much harder for the Saints to install a 3-4 defense if they don’t have guys who can play.
Per a league source, linebacker Will Smith is out for the year with a knee injury suffered Sunday against the Texans.
The precise injury isn’t known, but for Saints fans it doesn’t matter. The first year of the Rob Ryan experiment will begin with both Victor Butler and Smith done for the duration.
The injury to Smith, a first-round pick in 2004 who was moving from defensive end in the 4-3 to outside linebacker in the 3-4, means that Martez Wilson will be asked to step up. Wilson returned to practice a couple of weeks ago after injuring an elbow early in camp.
The situation likely will prompt the Saints to keep an extra close eye on the waiver wire as teams cut to 53 players.