Familiar Faces: New Orleans Saints Edition


Nov 3, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New Orleans Saints outside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) makes a diving tackle on New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. The Jets won the game 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In what I hope to make a regular series, this week I will take a look at the former Seahawks players on the opposing team and what they are doing now. Unlike some teams like the Vikings or Jaguars, the Seahawks don’t have that many links to the Saints. This isn’t overly surprising as there really isn’t much coaching or scheme overlap between the two squads. That makes this list short and sweet, unlike a similar post about the Jaguars which would take forever to write and forever to read (which doesn’t mean I won’t do it when the time comes). Let’s get right to business. Ranked subjectively by importance we start with David Hawthorne:

ILB David Hawthorne:

Seahawks stats: 61 G, 41 GS, 239 Tackles, 139 Assists, 6 Sacks, 7 Interceptions, 3 FF

Saints stats: 22 G, 20 GS, 56 Tackles, 41 Assists, 3 Sacks, 0 Interceptions, 1  FF

Role with the Seahawks: Starting linebacker

Role with the Saints: Starting linebacker

David Hawthorne, sometimes known as “Heater”, was put in a tough position as the man who had to replace the beloved Lofa Tatupu. Injuries caught up to Tatupu at a relatively young age and in 2009 he went down and opened the door for the undrafted free agent. Hawthorne won over fans that year with four sacks, three interceptions and a multitude of enormous hits in eleven starts. Although Tatupu would return to start in 2010 he was a shell of his former self and it was clear that Hawthorne was the better player. Hawthorne was solid in 2011, but Seattle’s front office decided he wasn’t worth paying and he wound up with a 5 year $19 million dollar contract from the Saints. He was pretty quiet last year but has been more productive in 2013 with three sacks and a forced fumble already this season. Hawthorne is still only 28 and may have some good years ahead. He was definitely one of my favorites, especially during the dark year that was 2009.

ILB Will Herring:

Seahawks stats: 54 G, 7 GS, 72 Tackles, 21 Assists, 1 Sack, 1 Interception, 2 FF

Saints stats: 38 G, 3 GS, 11 Tackles, 5 Assists, 0 Sacks, 2 Interceptions, 1 FF

Role with the Seahawks: Backup/Sub Package Linebacker

Role with the Saints: Backup/Sub Package Linebacker

At 6-3 215 coming out of college, Will Herring never had starting linebacker size, but he has always been a useful role player. In a league where passing is more prevalent than ever, a linebacker who is specifically brought in to play in coverage can be a valuable thing. It’s possible that Herring is before his time and in 5-10 years every team will have a Will Herring. Herring was also always a valuable special teams player and overall just a guy worth having. The former college safety and fifth round pick plays basically the same role on the Saints as he did in Seattle. The only major difference is that he is now listed as an inside linebacker (in fact he is backing up Hawthorne) and he was always an outside linebacker with the Seahawks.

OLB Kyle Knox:

Seahawks stats: N/A

Saints stats: N/A

Role with the Seahawks: Practice Squad

Role with the Saints: Practice Squad

Kyle Knox got a brief chance to be on the Jaguars active roster (of course) this year but otherwise he has yet to break through and make an impact in his NFL career. I tend to cheer for guys that have come up with the Seahawks wherever they land (outside the NFC West) but it’s not as if we’ll be seeing Kyle on Sunday.

As I mentioned before, the Saints don’t have as many links to the Seahawks as some teams. Apparently they have taken a shine to some former Seahawks linebackers but that’s about it. If I were desperately trying to draw some kind of story out of that I would say that they don’t have any players with inside information about the Seahawks and this is good news. However, given that the Seahawks aren’t exactly crawling with former Saints I don’t think that inside information is really going to be a factor. Personally, I think it will be nice to see Hawthorne again, unless he does anything of significance. That’s as far as the sentimentality goes. I will be happy to see Hawthorne take the field in Seattle again but if he forces a fumble or gets an interception he’s just another Saint to cheer against. Unfortunately for former Seahawks that return home, the 12th man is all about the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.