Too often it seems injuries on a football team seem to concentrate on one position, pillaging through any depth assembled in the offseason. Recent memory of this rash of injuries that comes to mind is last year when the Saints had to start William Robinson, a guy they picked up off the street a week earlier. He was the 5th string right tackle at the time, if you consider that the Saints were missing Zach Strief and had lost Charles Brown, Bryce Harris and Marcel Jones for the year. Even worse than that example was running back in 2010 when the Saints were forced to used Mark Ingram, Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas, Julius Jones, Ladell Betts, DeShawn Wynn at different points in the season, and by the playoff game they were using Heath Evans as the receiving back on passing downs because every single one of the aforementioned was hurt. This season, outside linebacker seems like the early favorite with starter Victor Butler possibly out the entire season with a torn ACL, and now Martez Wilson suffering a bicep/elbow injury that will cost him four weeks. Brutal news for being the first week of camp. So where does outside linebacker stand?
The starters are still Will Smith (gulp) and Junior Galette. So far everyone is raving about Smith's ability to adapt to the new position, in part thanks to his new trim rookie season physique. With Smith I'm still taking very much of a wait and see approach, the idea of him in coverage EVER terrifies me. Galette is a guy that should get more opportunities to rush the passer, which he does best. Behind them the cupboard is starting to get really bare now. Rob Ryan prides himself on substitution packages, rotating personnel and creating different looks. Without Wilson and Butler in the mix, that severely limits the options. The good news is Martez Wilson should be available by the first game of the season, but how compromised will he be? Rufus Johnson, Eric Martin and Chase Thomas just all received an added boost to their chances at the 53 man roster. Those are the primary backups behind Smith/Galette now, and one of them will have to step up.
Fortunately Wilson's injury isn't even more serious, but having to possibly lose the entirety of training camp and preseason reps when he's a guy that still needs to learn is a bad blow. It's even worse when you consider how shaky of ground I think Will Smith is one with this position, and the fact that Victor Butler is out for the year. Outside linebacker really can't afford another injury.