After Coach Sean Payton noted that the New Orleans Saints didn't mount much of a pass rush against the Steelers in their third preseason game, it didn't take the team long to acquire a possible remedy.
Outside linebacker/defensive end Paul Kruger, a free agent target of the Saints in 2013 before Kruger agreed to a five-year deal with the Browns, signed a reported one-year deal with New Orleans on Wednesday, two days after Cleveland released him.
Kruger, entering his eighth season, has 33.5 career sacks, including seasons of nine sacks in 2012 for the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens, and 11 sacks for the Browns in 2014. He had 2.5 sacks last year.
"I think there's a pretty good vision for this player," Payton said Friday. "I see him, obviously, as someone that can help us in the pass rush, but I also see him as an every-down player. I think he's strong. It took a little while with (Saints general manager) Mickey (Loomis) and his agent and fortunately we were able to do that, and really kind of handle things before he went on to his next visit."
Payton said his belief that Kruger can play every down is "from knowing this player and having the correct vision. Obviously, you're going to play in a rotation when you're playing the front, but he can affect the pocket, he's got strong hands and he's been a durable player."
In the last five seasons Kruger only has missed one game.
"He's playing a 'Sam' (linebacker) in the base (defense) and then an end in the sub in the (3-4) defense, so my vision for him starts with someone who's rushing the passer," Payton said. "It doesn't start with him as an outside linebacker.
"We see him playing the open side 'Jack' position but we also think he can played the closed side position. We'll find the right fit. I know 65 percent of the snaps we're seeing are versus sub-offense, so that becomes a little clearer. How we utilize him in the base, we'll continue to look at and have a good plan."