Hope everybody had a merry Christmas. I know I did. Let's jump right back in.
As you've probably heard, Mike McKenzie is done for the year with a torn knee ligament. The question is not what the Saints do for the rest of this season, because the answer is clearly to start Usama Young. The question is what to do with McKenzie once next season starts. I have an idea.
Raise your hand if you remember former Southern great Aeneas Williams.
In 2000, after a potentially Hall of Fame career as a corner in Arizona, Williams moved to safety with the Rams. The move was like a second life for Williams, whose top speed and agility had been compromised by age and injury, but whose savvy and experience allowed him to make the Pro Bowl at his new position.
Now, consider Troy Vincent, another former Pro Bowl corner, who moved to safety in 2004. At the time, this is what was written about the move:
The beauty of Vincent at safety is he gives the Bills coverage options that most teams can only fantasize about. If the Bills want to blitz a corner and have Vincent man up on a receiver, they can do so without a drop-off.
Wouldn't that be nice?
There are a few factors that lead me to believe McKenzie would be a good fit at safety:
First, his size. McKenzie is about 6-0, 200 pounds, on the larger end for a corner but pretty prototypical for a free safety.
Second, his tackling ability. McKenzie is already the best tackler in the secondary. This would actually put him in a better position to support the run.
Third, whom he would displace. I've made no secret of my disdain for the play of Josh Bullocks, who I think has the tools to be a good safety but is too undisciplined. Judging by the bump in the defense's overall level of play when Kevin Kaesviharn was in games, I'd say Bullocks may be Public Enemy No. 2 on the defense.
There would surely be growing pains in the secondary, particularly if the Saints can't acquire a corner to replace McKenzie. But given some experience at safety, I'm sure this move would turn a negative into a positive for the defense and give McKenzie's career life well into his mid 30s.