After Further Review: Saints dealt tough blow on defense - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

After Further Review: Saints dealt tough blow on defense

Updated:

New Orleans -- Just like that, the Saints have reportedly suffered their first devastating injury of 2013.

Per nola.com and the Times Picayune, prized free agent outside linebacker Victor Butler has torn his ACL after colliding with running back Mark Ingram at Tuesday's OTA.

The injury is a huge blow to a unit that was counting on Butler to contribute in a big way this season. Remember, Butler wasn't just courted by the Saints but by a few teams this off season. The Saints clearly had enough faith in him to bypass an edge pass rusher in the first round of the draft.

He is seen as an up-and-comer, a guy who patiently waited his turn and was ready to showcase his skills now that he was out of the shadows of Demarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.

Butler was going to be the guy who helped the Saints successfully transition to the 3-4. Throughout OTA's, his knowledge and comfort with the scheme were obvious.

All that is out the window now as Butler is likely headed for injured reserve.

While the injury does hurt, all hope is not lost. The Saints do have options. Martez Wilson will likely slide into Butler's role as starter. They also have Junior Galette, a player I've always believed was the team's best pure pass rusher, on the other side along with Will Smith, who's transition is happening but only time will tell just how smooth it will be.

They also have rookies Rufus Johnson and Chase Thomas. Before the injury, both were likely seen as developmental projects but now they will at least be considered for depth purposes. Hopefully, both will raise their level of play now that there is a spot available.

 Of course, there is always the option of finding  a veteran free agent, either available now or one that be become open as training camp nears.

All are legitimate possibilities. We'll see what route they choose.

The Saints were dealt their first true hand of adversity Wednesday. Now, they must figure out a way to overcome it.

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