Do you remember how historically awful the New Orleans Saints‘ defense was in 2012? Yeah — the Saints defensive group might be even worse this fall.
This offseason started off on a positive note as New Orleans moved away from the 4-3 scheme and instead hired established defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to construct a 3-4 defense. However, the injury bug has poisoned the Saints and it decided to take another bite out of the black and gold on Monday. All-Pro defensive end Will Smith was diagnosed with a knee injury and won’t be on the field for the Saints this season.
Smith is the third Saints’ would-be defensive starter to go down this offseason as Victor Butler and Kenyon Coleman are both lost for the year as well.
To make matters worse, Smith was a huge cog for a Saints’ defense that was undergoing a massive overhaul — this was going to be Smith’s first attempt at playing linebacker after nine years at the defensive end position. Without Smith, Ryan will turn to third-year linebacker Martez Wilson, who has started one game in the last two years. Moving to a new defense is never fun, but with three would-be starters on the shelf the Saints’ 2013 defense could very well be worse of than it was last season.
Luckily, the Saints’ secondary has been relatively healthy as first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro and former Pittsburgh Steelers‘ defensive back Keenan Lewis are currently injury free — as of now.