Saints fans were excited to learn Kwon Alexander visited with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday. For the past several months, Alexander has been training for months with Dr. Sharif "Dr. Reef" Tabbah at the Athletix Rehab Center in Miami, Florida.
Many have carefully watched the social media videos of Alexander's progress from rudimentary gym exercises to on-field explosive sprints and leaps with Dr. Reef's guidance.
Dr. Reef shared with me his thoughts on Kwon's rehabilitation and progress.
"We started working together back in March is when we went full steam ahead and never looked back. Kwon did an amazing job of staying diligent and focused throughout the entire process, always bringing a positive attitude and high energy.
His mental toughness shined through every step of the process. He's an incredible athlete and a ton of fun to work with on a daily basis.
While rehabs like this can be difficult for the patient, bringing a fun, lighthearted, can-do attitude every day makes it much easier. I can honestly say not only did he get back to 100%, but I believe he got even better.
This long time frame allowed us to get him back and work on restoring balance throughout his body and improved upon mechanics to enhance his movement, functional strength, coordination, and play overall. I hope to be able to continue working with him throughout his career!"
Physicians cleared Alexander to resume his "football training" before Tuesday's meeting with the Saints took place. The Saints medical staff will have to examine Alexander's repaired Achilles before considering offering him a contract.
Also, Kwon may have other suitors for his services at linebacker. Football is a business, and another club could entice him with a more lucrative deal. Nevertheless, the one element that New Orleans has over any other team in the NFL is Demario Davis.
THE DEMARIO AND KWON CHEMISTRY
Chemistry is defined as the "complex emotional or psychological interaction between people."
Chemistry is persuasive and could motivate Alexander to re-sign with the Saints. Demario Davis and Kwon Alexander played with chemistry and continuity that was unmistakably evident and effective.
His personality was infectious in the team's locker room and players gravitated to Alexander early his trade from the 49ers.
Once Alexander was inserted into the starting lineup in Week 9, he and Davis quickly developed as one of the best linebacker tandems in the National Football League. Unfortunately, they had a short run after seven games together. Alexander injured his Achilles in Week 12 on Christmas Day when New Orleans defeated the Vikings, 52-33.
New Orleans released Alexander this offseason and saved the team $13.2M.
AN UPGRADE AT LINEBACKER IN 2020
His play was an immediate upgrade from Alex Anzalone with his speed and pass coverage abilities.
A production comparison of the two linebackers had Alexander allowing 60.9% (88.1 QB rating) of completions on 23 targets, while Anzalone let quarterbacks complete 77.8% (118.8 QB rating) of passes on 27 targets.
In seven contests with the Saints, Kwon had 350 defensive snaps, 27 combined tackles, four passes defended, two fumbles recovered, one forced fumble, 27 blitzes, 1 QB pressure, and 1 QB hit.
RE-SIGNING ALEXANDER ADDS DEPTH AT LB?
The young talented linebackers in 2021's second-round draft pick Pete Werner and 2020's third-round choice Zack Baun could use Alexander in the linebackers' room in training camp and during the season.
After Davis, Baun, and Werner (R), the remaining linebackers on the roster are as follows:
- Kaden Elliss,
- Andrew Dowell,
- Chase Hansen,
- Wynton McManis (R),
- Quentin Poling,
- Shaq Smith (R),
- Sutton Smith, and
- Marcus Willoughby
Several players may have an opportunity to make the special teams unit or practice squad, but at the moment, the depth at linebacker talent is limited.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
If Kwon Alexander returns to New Orleans, don't expect an immediate start for the seven-year veteran. Former Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said it took him a whole season to return to normal after his Achilles injury.
The development of Baun and Werner will be a factor and allow Alexander can sit, mentor, and wait to regain the strength and full range of motion in his Achilles. A mid-season return could be the answer, but would he be willing to wait patiently on the sidelines?
We shall see.
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