When the Detroit Lions play the New Orleans Saints, they will be without their best tackler. Linebacker Alex Anzalone‘s absence from the team’s trip and his inability to play against the New Orleans Saints were both confirmed on Saturday afternoon.
In addition to missing practice the entire week, the seasoned linebacker welcomed the birth of his second child. The goal of Detroit’s linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard is to have Anzalone play this week so they can either succeed and grab his job or make the coaches cut down on his playing time. Sheppard said
“I’m not going to sleight this like we didn’t lose anything. But like I told the room, we should take a step up. That’s just the way I’m wired, the way I’m built. To have Alex say, ‘Oh wait, I got to get back…’ That’s when you create that environment where everyone is (elevating each other), versus everyone sitting back and saying, ‘I hope we get through this.’ No, no, no, no,” “We’re going to raise the pressure on Alex. You better hurry back, because these guys are about to ball.”
Alex’s journey in 2023 season
The former Saints linebacker has tallied three sacks, nine quarterback hits, and 87 tackles in 2023.
Anzalone feels he is playing with much more ease now that he has the security and trust of the coaching staff after agreeing to a long-term contract deal this past offseason. Malcolm Rodriguez, Jack Campbell, and Derrick Barnes will now be Detroit’s backup linebackers in place of the defensive captain.
Sheppard made it clear to reporters this week that several players will be calling the defensive plays against the Saints, despite the fact that it has been reported that Campbell would wear the green dot.