Saints hoping DB Carr provides depth, experience

Chris Carr figured he’d get comfortable with the Saints’ new

defense soon enough.

The ninth-year cornerback, who started for one of the NFL’s top

defenses in Baltimore three seasons ago, now aims to establish a

regular role in New Orleans under new defensive coordinator Rob

Ryan, who was also Carr’s coordinator in Oakland at the beginning

of his career.

”I know what Rob wants. I remember a lot of the calls that he

used to call in Oakland. I know how he wants players to play,”

Carr said. ”I’ve started at safety, cornerback, and nickelback for

him before, and so at this point in my career, I’m willing to do

whatever I can just to help out.”

During training camp, Carr has been working as a reserve

cornerback and return man.

His veteran savvy showed when the Saints held their first

scrimmage last weekend. He intercepted one pass, nearly had another

interception on a pass-breakup and caused another turnover when he

jumped inside of receiver Nick Toon’s slant route and tipped a pass

that linebacker David Hawthorne intercepted.

”I expect to go out there and make plays,” Carr said. ”I feel

like if I am healthy and know what I am doing then I can go out

there and play well.”

Later, a knowing grin widened on Ryan’s face when the subject of

Carr’s performance came up.

”I called that one. He’s a pro,” Ryan said. ”I’ve coached

this guy for a lot of years now. He’s an outstanding football

player. He’s so smart. I think he’s probably going to be a lawyer

or a doctor – probably both – when he’s done.”

The 5-foot-10, 181-pound Carr, who played in college at Boise

State, joined the NFL in 2005 with Oakland as an undrafted rookie.

He played for San Diego last season and also has played for

Tennessee.

He’s played in 114 career games, starting 27. He has six career

interceptions, one of which he returned for a score.

His 201 kickoff returns for 4,841 yards in three seasons with

Oakland remains a Raiders career mark.

Coach Sean Payton said Tuesday that when the Saints signed Car

in June, they were looking to add depth to their secondary with ”a

veteran player that understands defense and has had snaps” in the

NFL.

Payton said Carr’s special teams experience helps, but added,

”Mainly, his workout was good. We felt like he had flexibility

with what he could do position-wise. We felt like he was a smart

player. That was one thing we knew, prior to the workout.”

Despite his relatively recent arrival, gaining respect in the

locker room hasn’t been a problem, Carr said.

”They know that I came from Baltimore where I played with a lot

of great defensive players like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis,” Carr said,

adding that he also tries to help younger defensive backs learn

from his experience. ”If someone out there needs advice, you help

them out because you know when you are on this team, you need to

have that chemistry and you need to be able to talk with your

teammates. It’s only going to help you out. So I think they sensed

that once I came in and everybody has been really great.”

Notes: DE Kenyon Coleman left practice with what Payton said was

a chest injury. … Seven players sat out practice, including

veteran LB Jonathan Vilma, who missed his second straight practice.

Payton said the 10th-year player was just given those practices off

to rest. Payton did not provide an update on WR Joe Morgan’s left

knee injury after saying Monday that the team was seeking a second

opinion. … Also out were LBs Martez Wilson (left elbow), Eric

Martin (undisclosed), Ray Shipman (hamstring), receiver Andy Tanner

(right shoulder) and defensive end Tom Johnson (hip). Payton said

he did not see Martin’s undisclosed injury as ”a significant

setback” and expected the rookie back within a week.