Once a major liability the Saints young CB Ken Crawley, was vastly improved and a needed component of the teams secondary. With the pile of injuries the Saints suffered during the regular season, including the most recent, Delvin Breaux going on IR, Crawley figured prominently in this weeks contest against the Atlanta Falcons. Unfortunately, according to a source, Ken dislocated his knee in Wednesday practice. This is a 6-8 week injury, so in effect the season is over for the young DB.
Ken Crawley suffered a knee injury yesterday and will miss the finale, per source— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) December 29, 2016
The Saints are now depending on seventh and eighth level backups to defend one of the best receivers in the league, Julio Jones. The UDFA, Ken Crawley was pressed into service much earlier than planned when Delvin Breaux broke his fibula in week one. Next Kyle Wilson suffered a season ending concussion and Ken found himself a starter weeks 3 - 8, before Breaux returned. Often burned and committing PI fouls early in his career with the Saints, Crawley was coming into his own. Had learned to look for the ball, and defend passes on an acceptable level. In fact, I’d almost say his play was on par or even better than the returning Breaux.
With the suspension of safety Kenny Vaccaro, the three safety look the Saints have used is now limited to Roman Harper as the 3rd safety. The Saints will have to depend heavily on the duo signed as the season digressed. Sterling Moore, and B.W. Webb, will have to step up their game this week. The Falcons top scoring offense will be the ultimate challenge this week. Fortunately, the run defense is much improved with the return of Sheldon Rankins, Dannell Ellerbe, in addition to the acquisition of Nick Fairley, the Saints hopefully won’t be burned by the Falcons run game like in the first matchup.
Ken Crawley managed 43 tackles, two for loss, eight passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery before the season ending injury. Fortunately he should be fully recovered for the 2017 season. I fully expect Ken to compete for a spot on the 53 man roster no matter who we sign in free agency or the draft. Depth is so obviously a major concern for our team.