“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
In James Laurinaitis, the Saints found one of the NFL’s smartest linebackers
- Updated: August 23, 2016
Dennis Allen can only do so much from the sideline.
New Orleans’ new defensive coordinator is famously detailed and aggressive. But in today’s NFL, with quarterbacks changing the play and making adjustments at the line of scrimmage, Allen needs somebody on the field capable of countering their moves on the fly.
So the Saints went out and added James Laurinaitis, one of the NFL’s smartest middle linebackers.
“We’ve got a veteran (middle linebacker who) knows this defense, been playing in this defense his whole career,” weakside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. “We’ve got somebody that really can dictate where we need to be and set us up for plays.”
Laurinaitis, a voracious tackler who has never made fewer than 100 tackles in a season, became available in February when the Rams decided to shed his contract.
New Orleans saw an opportunity. Last year, Laurinaitis played under former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whose aggressive, attacking scheme forms the foundation of Allen’s defense.
Laurinaitis had done his homework as well. The veteran keeps a close eye on movement around the league, and when Allen was promoted to defensive coordinator in New Orleans, Laurinaitis knew he would install a familiar scheme.
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