I know everyone is dying to read another story involving the bounty system or Brees' contract negotiations or Pamphilon's downward spiral into the media abyss, but I don't feel like writing one of those. So instead I've decided to write a little something about football.
Several stories about the Saints OTAs have mentioned some significant changes in the defensive scheme for our beloved Saints. The one change that gets me really excited involves Martez Wilson. Wilson was the team's third round draft pick in 2011, picking him up as a linebacker but not getting a whole lot of playing time his first year. Of course with all the linebackers the Saints have on the roster now, even with Vilma being suspended for the whole year, Wilson may not be looking at a whole lot of playing time this year either. I guess you could say Martez is at the end of the line in more ways than one.
Rumor has it that Wilson has been moved to the end of the defensive line into the DE position. Because of this move, I personally believe this will be Wilson's breakout year. For the last few years and maybe even a few years before that, I have screamed through my television at the Saints' coaching staff to put some speed rushers on the line. Unfortunately, my desperate pleas have fallen upon deaf ears. I knew I should have invested in the smart TV when I had the money. On the other hand, maybe I'm wrong and they could hear me. I know my neighbors have thanks to the multiple visits from local law enforcement officers! Did you know they work on Sundays?
Anyway, here's why I think what I'm thinking. First of all, Wilson is fast, like 4.42 second 40-yard dash fast. I remember the few times I saw Wilson on the field last year I thought to myself, "Damn, that guy is so fast he makes fast people look slow!" Just for comparison purposes, Robert Griffin III, the fastest quarterback in this year's NFL Combine ran his 40 yard dash in 4.41 seconds. Coincidentally, the Saints and Redskins will be facing each other in the season opener which should be fun to watch with that much speed on the field.
Now I know speed isn't the only deciding factor in getting to the quarterback, but Wilson's overall skill set is going to set him apart. As a matter of fact, he was one of the top rated DEs coming out of high school. He was moved to ILB at Illinois probably because of his size. Even though Wilson is small in comparison to the average NFL DE, he is strong. He pumped out 23 reps of 225 lbs which isn't a record but it's respectable enough. Thanks to his combination of speed, agility, and athleticism he's going to blow by offensive linemen.
With Spags' new defense, Wilson is going to also have an opportunity to showcase his abilities in zone coverage. This is good news because he's not known for being able to shutdown receivers in man-to-man, and working in zone coverage means you should have some help if you lose a step.
I predict he's going to be the element the Saints have been missing on defense for several years. He can disrupt the backfield against the run or pass, and he's fast enough to serve a purpose in coverage. He'll register in the double digits in sacks this year, bat a few passes away and maybe even snag an interception by season's end. Whatever he does, this new role means that his beast mode has a chance to be displayed!