Corey White’s role with the Saints could be growing.
As they enter the 15th week of the season, the Saints are still looking to find their best mix of players on defense. That picture could now include White at safety.
A cornerback by trade, White said Thursday that he’s been floating around the defense, playing some safety in addition to his responsibilities at cornerback.
“I did a little bit in training camp,” White said when asked if he’s comfortable at the position. “I’m comfortable. I haven’t done it in a while. I’m just getting back into the groove.”
When asked if his role is changing, White said the team is “adding onto my role” and giving him a “different look.”
White’s role has already changed twice this season. Early in the year, he was coming in on nickel packages behind Keenan Lewis and Patrick Robinson. Later in the year he replaced Robinson in the starting lineup, but Robinson elevated back into the starting lineup in recent weeks.
White said the biggest difference between playing cornerback and safety is that he’s looking onto the play at safety instead of being locked in on one man.
“The angles. At corner you kind of got to tackle from outside in,” White said. “From safety it’s a little different. Knowing formations. You’re now focusing on tight ends instead of receivers.
“It’s a little bit more freedom. I love safety. Just give me a chance to look at formations, looking at teams and how they want to attack.”
The Saints appear to be shaking up how they do things. It’s expected that Kenny Vaccaro will see a decreased role this week with Pierre Warren and Jamarca Sanford the likely starters at safety.
There could be more changes in the secondary this week.
Terrence Frederick, a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft, says that he’s been mixing in with the first-team defense during practices this week. He does not know yet if he will start Monday night against the Chicago Bears, but is preparing as if he will.
“I’ve just been preparing myself if I’m going to be up this week,” Frederick said. “Obviously I’ve been working in and out with the starting defense. We’ll just see what Monday brings.”
Speaking about Frederick Friday, coach Sean Payton said he’s proven to be a quick study and has been a “pleasant surprise” since being called up from the practice squad Nov. 18.
“When we brought him up here a couple weeks back, he very seldom is surprised defensively with what the coverage, what the front is, and what the call is so he can align himself quickly,” Payton said. “He is experienced. Those instincts he has I think are something that really allow him along with his skillset. I think his football IQ is real high and we saw it in training camp.”
If Frederick earns the start this week, he would be the third cornerback to lineup opposite Lewis this season, joining Robinson and White.
And if that opportunity does come, Frederick says he’s ready to seize it.
“I’m definitely ready,” Frederick said. “We watching film, staying extra, understanding the game plan. I feel like I prepared myself all week if I get that chance this week.”
Linebacker Curtis Lofton was fined $8,268 for his part in Sunday’s brawl with the Carolina Panthers.
Panthers tight end Brandon Williams, who was ejected from the game, was fined the same amount.
The fight broke out in the end zone after Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ran in a touchdown during the second quarter of Carolina’s 41-10 win.
After the score, Newton began to do his signature Superman celebration when he was confronted by defensive end Cameron Jordan. Lofton then pushed him and escalated the situation, which ended with Williams punching Jordan.
Saints linebacker Junior Galette missed a second-straight day of practice Friday because of a knee issue. Meanwhile, left tackle Terron Armstead returned to practice in a limited capacity on Friday after being sidelined Thursday with a hurt neck.
Linebacker David Hawthorne (hip), defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (ankle) and cornerback Lewis (illness) were also limited Friday, as they were Thursday.