The veteran linebacker took a big step forward in 2018."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections InterviewsNew Orleans Saints SatireWho Dat HistoryCanal Street Chronicles Tutorial2018 Saints: Year in ReviewSaints 2018 Year in Review: A.J. KleinNew Mark Ingram Jersey Stitched
,1commentThe veteran linebacker took a big step forward in 2018.CSTShareTweetShareShareSaints 2018 Year in Review: A.J. KleinChuck Cook-USA TODAY SportsThe linebacking corps was absolutely the weakest link of the New Orleans Saints defense in 2017. In 2018, the group as a whole became one of the better-performing aspects of the defense. Granted, this was due in no small part to the addition of Demario Davis from the New York Jets and return of a healthy Alex Anzalone.Still, the improvement of AJ Klein in his second year as a member of the Saints was definitely noticeable. Klein, playing in all 16 games (starting 15), matched or set career highs in interceptions (1), tackles (42), tackles for loss (7), QB hits (4) Youth Marcus Davenport Jersey
, and fumble recoveries (2). Without Klein, the Saints linebackers would not have been nearly a productive unit in 2018.AJ Klein - At a GlanceApproximate Value: 7 (career high)Defensive Grade: 70.5 (29th in the league)Coverage Grade: 70.1 (21st)Run Defense: 66.9 (43rd)Total Snaps: 669 snaps on defense and 172 on special teamsChuck Cook-USA TODAY SportsBased on the grades you see above, Klein struggled more in defending the run than he did against the pass. Even on run plays, though, Klein was able to make plays when the team needed him.Klein is a smart football player, and he uses his football IQ to make up for a lack of elite speed or play-making ability. In pass coverage, he can has just enough speed to stick with most running back. Klein makes it a point to leave himself in good position to make plays on either the ball or the ball-carrier, as evidenced by this “right place at the right time” interception against the Atlanta Falcons.With Klein’s 2019 $5 million cap hit in 2019, even with his increased productivity in 2018 Marcus Davenport Jersey Stitched
, it’s hard to say Klein provides value at his cost. Klein is definitely a candidate to be a cap casualty in 2019, but it’s more likely he would simply be restructured to reduce his cap hit rather than be outright cut altogether.Saints able to show appreciation to members of armed forces Members of the US armed forces, in a partnership with USAA in their #SalutetoService campaign, were able get an up-close and personal view of the New Orleans Saints practice.The Saints players were kind enough give back to the troops by posing for photographs and signing autographs.USAA, Official Salute to Service Partner of the New Orleans SaintsUSAA, Official Salute to Service Partner of the New Orleans SaintsUSAA, Official Salute to Service Partner of the New Orleans SaintsUSAA, Official Salute to Service Partner of the New Orleans SaintsAnd after the practice, members of the armed forces were able to participate in an NFL-style practice.USAA Youth Tre'Quan Smith Jersey
, Official Salute to Service Partner of the New Orleans SaintsUSAA, Official Salute to Service Partner of the New Orleans SaintsThis boot camp event represented the evolution of authentic military appreciation events that USAA and the Saints have created to foster an understanding and appreciation for the local military community, bringing our military closer to a game they love.A big thank-you to our military personnel, to the Saints for taking part in the event, and USAA for making it happen.