5'8" Jim Leonhard battles for Saints roster spot

His stature may be small at five-foot-eight, but Jim Leonhard plays big, and always seems to be in the right place.

"Well, he's someone that knows exactly what to do, he's a quick study," Head Coach Sean Payton said. "He's experienced, and knows how to play the technique."

Backup quarterback Luke McCown added, "Really underrated athletically, obviously he gets a lot of talk for his size, but he's got very good range for a safety, he's physical."

The ninth-year veteran is trying to earn a roster spot with the Black-and-Gold, while bringing a little something extra to the table.

"Played in a lot of different systems, feel like I can go in and talk to coaches, throw ideas out there as far as communication on the field," Leonard said.

"I've played a lot of snaps and hopefully that can help, especially with some of the younger guys. You can try to help bring them along a little faster, and it's something I enjoy doing."

McCown shared more insight on Leonhard's uncanny talent, "We were standing on the sideline the other night in the preseason game against the Chiefs, and he's calling out the formations, and he's calling out the play before the Chiefs snapped, just based on his film study and what he understood about that offense, so obviously a very, very smart guy."

Knowing his calling card may be special teams, Leonhard treats the kicking and return game just as important as first-team defense.

"If you're not gonna be a starter, you gotta play special teams and probably a lot of them," Leonhard said.

"You have to be willing and able to do it. Something I always enjoy doing, I never complain about being on special teams, whether it's returning kicks or covering kicks, it doesn't matter to me. Just trying to get on this team, and I think we have a chance to be good."

And Leonhard said today that one of the main reasons he joined the Saints this off-season is because of the way last year went in New Orleans, stating that he knew the team would be hungrier than ever.

"If you go back to 2009, they have won in the near-past. They know what it takes. This is an organization that I've always heard great things about from the top down. Knowing that a team like this, coming off of last year, was going to be hungry, It was something I wanted to be a part of. There is a lot of talent. There is more talent here than I even knew. There are a lot of young players that have shown a lot of flash, here in training camp. If they step up throughout the regular season, then I think we will have a lot of depth."