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rajncajn

Anybody have a spare LB lying around?

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Saints short of strong 'backers

By LARRY HOLDER

lholder@sunherald.com

 

JACKSON - Scott Fujita blew up Monday morning. The New Orleans Saints linebacker admitted that's not his normal tendency on the practice field.

 

But his anger and frustration got the best of him.

 

The linebackers had made two consecutive foul-ups in their formations and had to re-huddle. Normally, animated linebackers coach Joe Vitt would have laid into the unit.

 

But it was the typically mild-mannered Fujita who roasted his teammates with language suitable only for adult ears.

 

"We're in the dog days of training camp and frustrations start to build up," Fujita said. "We had kind of a tough individual grade. Anytime you get into position and guys have to keep repeating plays, you start to get fired up a little bit.

 

"Guys are so exhausted that they don't want to repeat the plays. You want to get off the field, be as efficient as possible and get the hell out of there."

 

The individual grade Fujita referred to is what has him and the Saints' coaching staff concerned. And one of the main reasons for the low expectations is that he's been the only player consistently on the field.

 

Fujita, Anthony Simmons and Alfred Fincher began the team's June mini-camp with the first team. Since then, several bodies have been shuffled in and out of the middle and weakside linebacker slots.

 

Simmons failed to show up at training camp and later announced his retirement. Tommy Polley, who was signed during mini-camp, replaced Simmons on the weak side and immediately looked like he had found a new starting job.

 

But Polley ended up on the stationary bike not long after nursing a shoulder injury.

 

Colby Bockwoldt started every game last season on the weak side. That didn't matter to first-year coach Sean Payton. Bockwoldt was relegated to third-team duties in mini-camp and was thought to be in danger of not making the team. The loss of Simmons and the injury to Polley has given the Saints no choice but to move Bockwoldt to the first team.

 

"(Bockwoldt) is going to have to play better on special teams, which I think he knows that and we'll see," Payton said. "We've got three more weeks. He's had a lot of snaps in the past, so that experience should serve him well."

 

The lack of faith in Bockwoldt has given former LSU linebacker E.J. Kuale an opportunity to earn the starting nod.

 

Fincher was given a chance to line up at middle linebacker, but he's had difficulties throughout camp and has fallen back on the depth chart.

 

Veteran Jay Foreman was brought in on the same day as Polley at mini-camp and now has been the primary middle linebacker with the first unit.

 

Payton said he hasn't committed to either player.

 

"Those two guys have been working hard, taking coaching, and it is what it is," Payton said. "We started with the first game, and we'll see how we're going to start this next game with Dallas."

 

Fujita just wants the best guys the coaching staff can find playing with him on Sept. 10 against the Cleveland Browns - regardless of experience.

 

"We're just trying to put the defense together and try to find the best fit across the board," Fujita said. "The numbers are down right now so you put guys in and try to keep as fresh as possible. The more guys we can put on the same page, the better off we are going to be."

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This scares the crap out of me as a Saints fan! The LB situation is looking worse than the Safety position! They have no idea what to work with on this D and that scares me nobody is standing out.

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Sean Payton is a stupid POS. Bockwoldt is the best LB he has. What a tool! I hate stupid coaches. I pitty Saints fans, they're going to be the worst D in the league...

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Sean Payton is a stupid POS. Bockwoldt is the best LB he has. What a tool! I hate stupid coaches. I pitty Saints fans, they're going to be the worst D in the league...

 

:D This isn't fantasy football broncos, this is the real thing. You should learn to tell the difference before slinging crap at the fan. Good fantasy number does not always equate a good player. I agree, Bockwoldt was our best LB last year and I like him a lot as a player. He plays with a lot of heart & drive, but that will only get us so far.

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this is the real thing.

 

I'm sure his many acquired back-up LBs will do much better... Payton's lucky, with that D-Line and it will make whoever he starts look better, I just don't like the continuous news that they are looking for more and more LBs. Maybe Payton is the one that is too fantasy oriented :D Bockwoldt had a pretty good game with the first team and hasn't he deserved for a little to be considered a reliable LB. Enlighten me rajn why does Payton not think he is not 1st team material?

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I'm sure his many acquired back-up LBs will do much better... Payton's lucky, with that D-Line and it will make whoever he starts look better, I just don't like the continuous news that they are looking for more and more LBs. Maybe Payton is the one that is too fantasy oriented :D Bockwoldt had a pretty good game with the first team and hasn't he deserved for a little to be considered a reliable LB. Enlighten me rajn why does Payton not think he is not 1st team material?

 

The Saints simply need a playmaker at LB. Bockwoldt is a solid tackler, high character, high motor guy. Yes he's reliable, but you'll never see him making many big plays. The same goes for the rest of our LBs. As with everyone else on the squad not named Drew Brees, Joe Horn & Deuce McAllister, especially at LB considering how bad they've sucked in the past, with the new coaching staff you have to earn the right to start. Not being in training camp myself I can't say if he's played better than the others and even if I was I can't say I'm more qualified to know than the coaches. But maybe with your infinite knowledge of the Saints roster & the LBing position you know more than the rest of us. :D

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Bockwoldt was in for most of the first half tonight. Check & see how well he did.

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