Early in the New Orleans Saints‘ preseason match up against the Houston Texans, Saints outside linebacker Will Smith left the game following an undisclosed injury. The injury occurred as Smith was going to the bottom of a pile following a sack against Texans quarterback Matt Schaub.
Smith was seen on the sidelines being attended to by trainers, and he was able to walk to the locker room under his own power. Replays from the play showed what appeared to be another player falling into or against one of Smith’s knees.
Smith has been with New Orleans since 2004 and since that time has compiled a total of 326 tackles and 67.5 sacks, six of those last season during the Saints’ historically bad defensive outing. If the injury to Smith is serious this could spell trouble for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Ryan is attempting to install his 3-4 base defense with the Saints’ current defensive personnel, and we have yet to get a real clear picture as to how the defense is going to look this season. Injuries during training camp and preseason have already affected the Saints, having already lost linebacker Victor Butler to an ACL tear and defensive end Kenyon Coleman to a pectoral tear. Linebacker Martez Wilson suffered an elbow injury at the end of July and defensive end Junior Galette was hit with an injury in training camp as well.
Any more personnel losses on the defensive side could have the potential to disrupt what Ryan is trying to do. Let’s hope that the Saints can come away from Houston not only with a win, but also without any more injuries to defensive players—or offensive players for that matter.