The New Orleans Saints may have been hit the hardest this offseason with a bevy of injuries to the defensive line. Victor Butler and Will Smith were supposed to be the starting outside linebackers for the Saints this season, but then both went down with torn ACLs and will be out for the entire season. For a team that is transitioning to a 3-4 scheme and trying to improve their pass rush, the losses of Butler and Smith are huge.
Right now the Saints only have three outside linebackers on the roster and it will be up to those three players to improve the team’s pass rush. At times it might seem like Junior Galette, Martez Wilson, and Parys Haralson will have the weight of the world on their collective shoulders as they will be the main edge rushers. However, despite the lack of depth at outside linebacker and their limited experience, with the exception of Haralson, these three players feel confident that they can perform at a high level and improve the Saints’ pass rush.
Haralson is very used to the 3-4 scheme as he played it during his tenure with the San Francisco 49ers. Wilson and Galette are brand-new to the scheme and it does not help that both are coming off of various injuries and that neither one of them played during the Saints’ preseason games. Furthermore, Haralson did not play in the Saints’ preseason games either. Despite all of that, it will not be like the three players will be coming in blind. They should give the Saints’ front seven a nice boost.
Wilson and Galette are the starting outside linebackers and both are listed as probable for the Week 1 game against the Atlanta Falcons. The game will be hard fought on both sides, but if Wilson and Galette can make an impact and pressure Matt Ryan early and often, then the Saints should come out on top in this game. Hopefully the two will shake off the rust and come up big for the Saints on Sunday.