With run-happy Carolina in the batter's box Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, middle linebacker James Laurinaitisreturns to active status for the New Orleans Saints after sitting out the San Diego victory with an injury. Laurinaitis said he lacked the ability to accelerate after sustaining a quad injury against Atlanta in Week 3, and Coach Sean Paytonand the staff made him inactive against the Chargers, the first game in Laurinaitis' NFL career that he had missed after 115 consecutive starts.
However, defensive end Paul Krugeris inactive, after injuring his back against the Chargers. Kruger likely will be replaced in the starting lineup by Kasim Edebali, though Darryl Tappalso is a possibility. Edebali is a key special team contributor, which could be a factor in Tapp starting. Tapp had a critical fumble recovery against the Chargers.
The other notable inactive is cornerback De'Vante Harris, who was active the first four games but whose playing time has diminished. With Brian Dixonre-signed to the 53-man roster, he gives the Saints a more experienced presence in the special team roles that Harris would play, as well as more experience at cornerback. Also, B.W. Webb, who had a victory-sealing interception against San Diego, has been ascending in his role in the secondary and has earned more reps lately.