Saints Hope To Avoid Snake-Bitten Start For 2015


The current crop of rookies in the NFL are having a tough time so far as mini-camps start.

The big news was that the 2015 NFL Draft’s third overall pick, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Dante Fowler Jr., tore his left ACL in his first workout.

A crushing disappointment for the Jaguars since Fowler was supposed to come in and have an immediate impact with their defense.

Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Dante Fowler Jr. (Florida) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number third overall pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Also a bit of irony when you look at his injury history when he was a Florida since he never missed a game.

Then Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reported that cornerback Julian Wilson, a highly coveted undrafted free agent, broke his leg during practice for the Baltimore Ravens.

Dallas Cowboys Randy Gregory linebacker and Carolina Panthers receiver Devin Funchess dealt with cramps and hydration issues, with Funchess actually being carted off the field.

The Panthers also were dealt a scare when first round pick, linebacker Shaq Thompson, tweaked his hamstring in the same practice as Funchess.

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What’s alarming is that these injuries come barely a week after the conclusion of the draft and more are sure to come.

The New Orleans Saints are hoping to avoid the same fate as they look to begin their rookie mini-camp next weekend.

They have had their share of incidents like Fowler’s when they signed linebacker Victor Butler in 2013 hoping he’d bring not only his ability, but knowledge of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s system.

But Butler collided with running back Mark Ingram during organized team activities that year and could never get back to full health and was released the following year.

The injury bug hit the Saints secondary after safety Rafael Bush claimed during the 2014 offseason that they could be the next “Legion of Boom”, modeled after the Seattle Seahawks.

But prized free agent acquisition, safety Jarius Byrd, tore the meniscus in his knee while simply going up to intercept a ball in practice the first week of October landing him on injured reserve.

That started the downward spiral for the Saints snakebitten 2014 season with Bush and rookie receiver Brandin Cooks suffering season ending injuries a little over a month after Byrd in the same game.

Nov 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) runs after a catch as New Orleans Saints free safety Rafael Bush (25) and defensive back A.J. Davis (20) pursue during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bengals defeated the Saints 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

One concern for the Saints will be second round pick linebacker Hau’oli Kikaha whose two ACL injuries in the same knee caused him to be red-flagged by some teams in the draft.

Another player they’ll inch along will be linebacker/defensive end Davis Tull who had surgery for a torn labrum during the offseason but is said to be on schedule with his rehab.

Both Kikaha and Tulls have even expressed that their injuries shouldn’t be a factor for the upcoming season.

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It’s worth noting that the Saints 13th overall selection in the draft, offensive tackle Andrus Peat, dealt with an elbow injury at the NFL Scouting Combine but head coach Sean Payton said, “It’s all fine”.

After such a disappointing season last year the one thing that made it sting so much for fans was the hype that surrounded the offseason.

But injuries along with the highly speculated locker room issues dealt a blow to any playoff hopes the Black and Gold had.

No doubt this year the Saints will try to fly under the radar and nurse the rookies along with the entire organization back to where they’re supposed to be.

After all, the first rule of not getting snakebit is don’t tempt the snake to begin with…

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