"It's still a significant injury, and it takes time," Sean Payton noted to media about Kwon Alexander's injured Achilles.
The Saints will "slowly acclimate" Alexander back into play during training camp. It's the right approach. He's a player the team will need down the stretch of the 2021 regular season.
“All offseason, he’s someone we’ve paid close attention to where he’s at with his rehab (torn Achilles). He’s someone we wanted to have back. It was just a matter of working out the right contract. He’ll get into the facility today. We’ll be slow with his acclimation.
He’s done a great job with his rehab, but the worst thing we could do is to throw him right back into practice. He’ll be with us on the roster and in meetings, but there’ll be a little bit of an acclimation period for him before he’s ready to go.
I told him I got tired of his social media workouts. He was wearing me out.”
Sean Payton on Kwon Alexander's Return to New Orleans
Payton jokingly mentioned the videos of Alexander's rehabilitation workouts with Dr. Sharif "Dr. Reef" Tabbah at the Athletix Rehab Center in Miami, Florida. His body's response to the rehab to regain his speed, power, and agility is remarkable.
Dr. Reef shared his thoughts with me on Kwon's rehabilitation:
It means a lot to Kwon, because that was ultimately the place he said he wanted to be [with the Saints]. He's excited and ready for whatever was to come next. But he did tell me how you know like he really hoped that he could get back with the Saints.
So I hope that Kwon enjoyed his experience at Athletix as much as we did and we really enjoyed working with him he was extremely diligent on a daily basis, and fun to work with.
And last, I hope that we continue to build the relationship with the Saints organization, so that we can continue to be an extension to them whenever they need, during offseason or during season, whatever it may be.
Dr. Sharif "Dr. Reef' Tabbah
Alexander tore his Achilles in the Saints 52-33 win over the Vikings on Christmas Day seven months ago. Alvin Kamara's six-touchdown virtuoso performance overshadowed the considerable loss of one-half of their dynamic linebacking duo - Davis and Alexander.
After the injury, New Orleans was forced to reinsert Alex Anzalone into the starting lineup. They lost speed in pass coverage as a result. They also lost the chemistry Demario Davis and Kwon Alexander quickly developed since he arrived after the Nov. 7, 2020 trade with the 49ers. In addition, they missed his pass coverage skills against running backs and tight ends, which Tampa Bay exposed in the 2021 NFC Divisional playoff loss.
STATE OF THE SAINTS' LINEBACKERS
The Saints' linebacking corps regains a familiar face, energy, and veteran presence. Sean Payton emphasized the slow acclimation for Alexander multiple times on Wednesday. Linebackers Peter Werner and Zack Baun are doing a fine job after six days of handling the training camp duties.
Former Michigan State's linebacker Andrew Dowell has been making plays during the early camp days. He will be a player to keep a close eye on throughout the remainder of Saints camp.
Rookies Shaq Smith and Wynton McManis fill the linebacking duties at camp with veterans Kaden Elliss, Quentin Poling, and Marcus Willoughby.
Sean Payton expects Alexander will soon make an appearance at the training camp practices.
“You’ll see him out here running and those different things, but we’ll be a little slow to put him back in team periods until we feel it’s the appropriate time," mentioned Payton.
He continued, “we’ve got a lot of guys competing, and we like what we’re seeing. We’re just adding another good football player who we got a good chance to evaluate last year."
READ MORE SAINTS NEWS:
- Report: Saints Bring Back Kwon Alexander on One-Year Deal
- Saints Camp: Day 5 Practice Notes and Observations
- Saints Camp: Day 4 Practice Notes and Observations
- Things We've Already Learned From Saints Training Camp
- Report: Saints to Sign CBs Prince Amukamara, KeiVarae Russell
- Could the Saints Bring WR Brandin Cooks 'Home' to New Orleans?
- Report: Saints Host Several Players, Sign Devonta Freeman
- Saints Camp: Day 3 Practice Notes and Observations