Bradley Roby seems more than suited for the challenge.
Granted, it'll be a substantial one for the New Orleans Saints defensive back, and his teammates, to replace the production provided by C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the slot corner the Saints traded to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
But Roby has played that position, and others, at a high level during a career that's entering its ninth NFL season.
"Just having depth is a good thing in the secondary," Roby said Wednesday. "Every team needs that, guys that can come in and play, play at a high level, and versatile guys, guys that can play different spots. We're a team that has a lot of guys that can do that, so we're fortunate in that aspect.
"I'm down to do whatever the team needs me to do to win. I'm comfortable there, inside or outside. Whatever we need to do to win, that's what I'm going to do.
"My first year, my rookie year, I played a lot of nickel and then I moved outside. Then a couple years later I moved inside. So it's kind of like, throughout my career I've been moving around a little bit. And that spot's all about being comfortable, knowing that it's a little different than playing outside. Everything happens faster. It's fortunate throughout my career that I've been able to be in and out."
For certain, it appears that Roby will be in the Saints' lineup on defense. He had what he considers one of his best training camps, a year after joining the Saints days before the regular-season opener and not having enough time totally to catch up and catch on to the entirety of the scheme.
The comfort gained from having an entire offseason in the program, plus the knowledge gleaned from playing snaps last season, showed up on the field in the form of a defensive back who more than held his own in coverage from the slot and outside during training camp.
"I think just coming in and being more comfortable, high competition level – everyone is competing against each other and with each other," Roby said. "In our room we still have a lot of good guys talent-wise. You look around, you see (Pro Bowl cornerback) Marshon (Lattimore) make a play, 'I want to make a play.' I think that's big for all of us."
Coach Dennis Allen said the plan at slot corner may adjust from week to week, depending on the opponent.
"We'll look at it, we'll game plan each week, see where we're at, see who we're playing, see what they like to do, see what the matchups are like," Allen said. "We'll make that determination on a week-by-week basis. I love the guys that we have in the room and we'll put a good plan together and be able to be successful on defense."
Whatever is the plan, Roby said he'll be ready if slot is the call for him.
"It's really just about getting those snaps, getting those reps, making sure if I don't get reps for a few days on the inside, maybe on walk throughs or maybe on scout team I'll go inside and get those reps," he said. "It's really just about your steps and feel and knowing the defense, knowing where everyone is supposed to be. It's plenty different."
ADEBO INJURY: Allen said that cornerback Paulson Adebo's absence from practice, as well as the preseason finale, is attributable to a left ankle injury.
"He injured his ankle prior to the Charger game," Allen said.
Adebo said he's improving each day and feels he'll be back on the field soon.
FRESH LEGS: The bonus week of practice has allowed the Saints, as much as anything, to gain some physical recovery.
"We had a couple of days of walk through, got out here and had a nice little practice today," Allen said. "(Thursday) we'll get a little bit more. You go through a tough, hard training camp, a lot of padded work, a lot of hot days, and so the most important thing is having your guys fresh and ready to go for the opener. So that's kind of where we're at. And fresh and ready to go as much mentally as it is physically.
"They looked pretty good today. I thought they had a lot of energy today, I think our guys are excited. We're anxious to kind of get rolling here."
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