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Kenny Vaccaro says he's 100 percent healthy

From the intensity he played with in training camp last year to several moments of late-game heroics during the season, safety Kenny Vaccaro showed why New Orleans drafted him 15th overall, but a late season injury prevented the young talent from finishing the Saints' playoff run. This year, he's healthy and ready for round two.

"I'm feeling good man," Kenny Vaccaro said. "I've been practicing full go, day to day, and no problems. I'm really not even sore after practice or anything."

"He looks better than he was last year, I can tell you that right now. He's amped up about getting back, fired up about playing with the fellas again, so I'm looking forward to it," teammate and cornerback Corey White added.

Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan agrees.

"I'm really excited about him. He's been working out. I'm no doctor, I don't know how fast he's supposed to come back from injury or what, but he looks great," Ryan said. "He's been working hard. He knows the defense inside out, as most of our guys do. They're looking really good."

Vaccaro was third on the Saints defense in tackles last fall, and now entering his second season with the Black-and-Gold, he's even more familiar with schemes and excited about his versatile role.

"I feel like Coach Rob wants me to be the leader back there, the quarterback of the defense, and I learned it pretty good last year, playing like five or six different positions, you kinda get a grip on the defense, and I've just been quarterbacking," Vaccaro said.

Head Coach Sean Payton added, "Just the progression, he is certainly someone that is comfortable with the system. In your second year, your familiarity with the terminology and the overall understanding of what we do (improves), but he is a football player. He enjoys playing. He is a real good tackler. There is not a lot of leaky yardage and I would agree with you that prior to his injury, each week he kept getting better and better. For him to get aligned, get set up, make the calls, that part is probably a lot smoother than it was this time last year."

"All off-season, since I got hurt, I've been watching a lot of tape, every game last year, and now I can make all the checks. I can show different looks, when I'm going against Drew. I'm not just a standing Indian anymore, I can move people around, kinda like Rob Ryan uses me, like a chess piece, but he lets me do it myself," Vaccaro said.

While Kenny Vaccaro says he's 100 percent, fully recovered from that fractured ankle injury, safety Jairus Byrd is now sidelined with his recent back surgery, but sooner or later, they will be on the field together, and the Saints secondary has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL.

"I can't wait man, I was telling him during the season when I was hurt, I was watching his tape from the Buffalo Bills, just trying to get tips on how to play deep and how he plays the ball in the air, so I was excited as soon as I saw him sign," Vaccaro said.

"Everyone's waiting to play with him, he's a great player on and off the field, make a lot of plays for us, and that's what we needed last year. We didn't make a lot of turnovers on the back end, so with him coming in, hopefully we can get some more," White added.

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