The Saints defense is still bad, and the Saints seem to be coming to terms with that fact. After giving up 777 yards passing through the first two weeks of the season, safety and 2013 first-round pick Kenny Vaccaro has become a common name mentioned as a possible trade candidate. Expect that conversation to heat up further after Vaccaro was benched on Sunday in the Saints’ Week 2 loss to the Patriots for second-year safety Vonn Bell.
Sean Payton isn’t shying away from the idea that teams are inquiring. “It’s not unusual this early in the season for teams to call about teams that have depth at running back, like we might, or depth at safety,” Payton said, per The Advocate’s Joel Erickson.
The Adrian Peterson experiment in New Orleans has not gone well thus far, obviously. The Saints have played from behind in their opening two losses, which would naturally cut into the snaps of a power back like Peterson, and Peterson has not seemed pleased with his role on the Saints thus far.
Vaccaro said that he wasn’t clear on why he was taken out, but he also hasn’t been happy with the defense’s play. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t know why I got pulled out of the game,” he said. “I didn’t understand.” Vaccaro also said that “I’ve been here for the last four years, and we haven’t played up to par on defense. Obviously, I understand how it goes. I’ve got to be better in my preparation, got to be more consistent. Like I said, the game before, I had plays I wanted to get back.”
The Saints defense doesn’t look to be improving. They were gouged by a Patriots team that dressed only three receivers on Sunday. Perhaps they’ll try to retool the defense, as the secondary of P.J. Williams, Kenny Vaccaro, Marcus Williams and Ken Crawley/De’Vante Harris has been routinely carved up early in the season.
Vaccaro understands the business side of things, and he’s trying to approach the rumors practically. “It’s a little bit of a distraction, but at the same time, you’ve got to block that stuff out, be a pro and understand we’re trying to win a game,” he said.
“Nothing surprises me,” he clarified. “Any time the (general manager) gets a call, they’re going to ask what are you willing to give? No player is indispensable except for quarterbacks and certain players around this league, so I understand it’s a business. It doesn’t bother me.”
If the Saints defense doesn’t improve, starting next week against the Panthers, they may need to cut their losses on that side of the ball. Vaccaro is still a high-energy player that may not have even hit his ceiling, and he’s a commodity a lot of teams would like to have. If the Saints can get a decent package for him, they may be declaring this season an early wash, but they could start building their horrendous secondary again.