New Orleans Saints linebacker David Hawthorne returned to practice this week. This was a good sign for the Saints and Hawthorne, who has been out since week three with a hamstring injury.
Hawthorne was one of the big pick-ups for the Saints during the off-season and was expected to be the team’s starting weak side linebacker. Hawthorne played the first three games of the season and has totaled nine tackles on the season.
The Saints’ linebackers corps has been very thin so far this season with injuries to multiple players throughout the year. However, as of late, the Saints’ linebackers corps has had the good fortune of health as everyone seems to be coming back healthy and strong.
In week seven, linebacker Jonathan Vilma made his 2012 season debut, but did not record any tackles. However, Vilma did make one quarterback hit in his return and despite his limited production, his presence surely gave the defense an emotional boost.
When Hawthorne returns, he will likely split snaps with Vilma at the weak side linebacker position. The Saints will finally have some depth at the linebacker position, especially on the weak side with Hawthorne and Vilma.
Hawthorne should benefit from the time off as he should be healthy and ready to contribute. The Saints’ defense is the worst in the league and they are ranked 31st in rushing defense as they give up 161 yards per game on the ground.
Hopefully with their newly found depth, the Saints’ defense can come to form and they will have a tough test in week eight when they visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.