Wilson's dislocated elbow opens door for young hopefuls
With Martez Wilson out due to injury, younger players are getting a chance to be noticed.
By JENNIFER HALEFS Southwest
Doctors now confirm
Saints linebacker Martez Wilson dislocated his left elbow when he banged it off of Rafael Bush's helmet Monday during a training camp practice.
Wilson was trying to get to Travaris Cadet in the backfield when the injury occurred, and Wilson initially thought he had bruised his bicep.
"The timetable is going to be somewhere in between two and four weeks. When he returns we will fit him with a brace, hopefully that is sooner rather than later," says Sean Payton.
It remains to be seen whether the Saints will use Wilson at all during the preseason games, which end Thursday, August 29 in Miami.
Although the linebacker should be ready to go for the Saints' Week 1 marquee matchup versus the Atlanta Falcons, he's losing valuable time to prove himself and claim his spot in Rob Ryan's new 3-4 defense.
Tuesday, Ramon Humber filled in for Wilson during practice.
The Saints also lost linebacker Victor Butler to a torn ACL during OTA's back in June, which means the window of opportunity is open for several young linebackers trying to prove their worth.
"You never want to see anyone get hurt no matter how long it may be, but you have to be able to jump in and be ready and show the coaches you can play and they can trust you," says Stanford product Chase Thomas.
He's already made Payton take note:
"One thing, he is productive. If you watch the tape, you saw him make a lot of plays, so the productivity was something that stood out," Payton says.
Thomas faces a lot of competition though, including a driven young man from Tarleton State.
"I'm just going to take advantage of every opportunity I get, keep working hard," says Rufus Johnson, whom the Saints drafted in the Sixth Round. "I understand that I'm a rookie and I always got to prove myself every day, so I just got to keep working hard."
Johnson describes himself as an aggressive player, who in college, could rush the passer and read the ball well. Now he has to make those skills translate to the professional level.
"He has that physical stature that you are looking for. We feel like he is a guy that can rush the passer really well. So he can line up one of those outside positions, and we will see how he develops. You are looking for some traits that stand out and with him clearly that was the case," Payton said after drafting Johnson.