September 5, 2010

Saints lose starting WLB Casillas for season

The Saints put off their 53-man roster announcement because of two critical injuries picked up during the preseason finale in Nashville.

Starting weakside linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who ascended to the starting job after strong early preseason performances, has been lost for the season and placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.

UPDATE: Casillas' injury is a fracture to the tarsal and metatarsal bones of the foot, a Lisfranc injury is exceptionally painful and requires immobilization and time to heal.  He may not be able to put weight on the foot until mid-season.

This is a significant blow to the Saints, who are feeling the pain from the departure of veteran LB Scott Fujita in March.  The Saints were outbid by the Browns for Fujita's services on the free agent market.

The Saints are back to square one with one of the outside linebacker jobs. 

Scott Shanle, a long time starter at weakside, was moved to strongside to fit Casillas into the lineup at weakside, where he is a more natural fit.

The Saints may now move Shanle back to weakside in order to fit Jo-Lonn Dunbar, the next best option at an outside linebacker job.

Also on the roster at outside linebacker, as of the final cutdown date, are veteran Anthony Waters, inexperienced K.C. Asiodu and second year former fourth round pick Stanley Arnoux.  None have significant starting experience, and of the potential suitors only Dunbar has started an NFL game, five the past two seasons.

Veteran LB Clint Ingram may be available to contribute in October.  Ingram was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list and is out for the first six weeks of the season, when he can be either placed on injured reserve or activated to the 53-man roster.

A 2010 free agent addition with playing experience under Gregg Williams in Jacksonville, Ingram, if healthy, has the best resume to start at strongside linebacker.

Fujita's departure allowed the Saints to sign DE Jimmy Wilkerson, as the Saints were capped on free agent moves under the CBA's last league year's Final 8 rules.

NOPF News Archive