Hopefully New Orleans Saints fans who cringed at last season’s Saints’ secondary will have reason to celebrate this upcoming season.
Reports out of training camp have indicated that rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro is putting himself on the map with an aggressive, physical style of play that is in-your-face and without apologies. And with ideas in the works to possibly play him at the nickelback position in certain situations in addition to his duty as a safety, I am starting to get more excited about the New Orleans’ secondary this season.
Although only a rookie and still raw by NFL standards, Vaccaro brings with him energy and an eagerness to play a physical style of football, even against veteran and more established players. What better way to get noticed than to have a mini-scuffle with tight end Jimmy Graham during training camp?
That’s the kind of tenacity and aggressiveness that was missing from the Saints’ secondary last season, which gave up 4,681 passing yards and finished next to last in passing yards allowed, with only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers performing worse. For lack of a better phrase, last year New Orleans’ secondary and defense overall lacked teeth.
Hopefully, Vaccaro stays healthy and finds his way into games and makes his presence known. Imagine that same style of play he used against Graham, but now imagine him using that against Vincent Jackson of the Buccaneers, the Atlanta Falcons‘ Julio Jones or the Carolina Panthers‘ Steve Smith. All are viable offensive threats, and if Vaccaro can play with that same kind of intensity and physicality, then I believe Saints’ fans should feel a little bit better about the secondary this season.