A.J. Klein has wasted little time making his voice heard on the Saints’ practice fields.
Brought in during free agency to bolster a linebacking corps that has often been in flux over the past two seasons, Klein is a newcomer to New Orleans, a circumstance that leaves some trying to establish themselves before taking charge.
Klein doesn’t have the luxury of time.
“A.J. Klein’s getting vocal,” defensive end Cameron Jordan said. “It’s not even slowly that he’s showing he’s a leader, it’s automatic.”
New Orleans expected Klein to take charge when the Saints signed him in the offseason.
Always a backup to Luke Kuechly in Carolina, Klein nevertheless had to run the Panthers defense when Kuechly was down with injury, and New Orleans believes he’s a “key and diagnosis” type of player, shorthand for somebody who can read an opposing offense and make the necessary checks to counter moves in the heat of the moment.
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No matter how little time he’s been in a Saints uniform, Klein’s new coach expects him to grab control of the defense.
“We are not waiting to find a certain get-in-line pecking order for who is leading. He is a great example. He is a player with which if I do not feel like I am getting it on defense, I am going to be (…) at him,” Sean Payton said. “That is one of the reasons why he is here. I think we will get great leadership from him.”
By the nature of what the Saints are asking him to do, Klein will likely end up…
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