Delvin Breaux might be forcing the Saints’ coaching staff to alter its initial plans for him.
Breaux, who took over the spotlight during the final open practice of the Saints’ organized team activities last week, opened Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp working with the first-team defense.
This time, though, the 6-foot-1, 196-pounder was working out of the slot. Breaux, the CFL product who the Saints brought in primarily to back up Keenan Lewis and Brandon Browner as an outside corner, is getting a chance in the nickel.
“Look, the key is to get your best players on the field,” Saints coachSean Payton said. “Some of your coverage schemes are man-to-man, and you might look for matchups with regards to who you’re covering.”
Breaux’s move inside is a sign that the coaches have seen the same flashes of brilliance the rookie cornerback flashed in last week’s workout on a regular basis.
In today’s pass-happy NFL, New Orleans now considers the nickel — the Saints call it the “Star” — a starter. Earlier this offseason, Payton said the Saints spend more than 70 percent of their snaps in defensive formations with five defensive backs or more.
“We put the numbers up this morning, just a year ago. … Went through each personnel grouping, and you get to the 11 personnel, three wide receivers, and it was a little more than half,” Payton said. “That’s become the norm. You’ve gotta have corners that can line up, whether they’re playing inside or outside.”