The team voted on their captains and the guys empowered by their teammates with the C on their chest will be Drew Brees and Zach Strief on offense, Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper on defense and Courtney Roby on special teams.
It’s a little weird having Jenkins and Harper as the captains for the D, but they’re the seniormost members of the unit with Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith both suspended for the beginning of the season. They were next in line and respected as two of the heavier hitters on the squad. I am a little surprised Jabari Greer…
wasn’t voted in, but he’s a little quirky so perhaps he doesn’t relate to his teammates quite as well. Jenkins is just 24 so he’s got to be one of the younger captains in the league. I think Harper and Jenkins both lead by example well and they command the respect of their teammates, but in time I truly believe Curtis Lofton is the man who will lead the defense to glory – both vocally and by example. He’s new to the team and he still has to earn his respect and prove by example on the field that he’s qualified to be THE leader, but I firmly believe a time will come where this defense will belong to Curtis Lofton. The minute he was signed that’s the direction the Saints went in.
Not much to say about Drew Brees because his captaincy was a given. Ditto Courtney Roby, by the way, who has always been an elite performer and plays with the kind of fearlessness you need out of a captain. The vote of confidence in Strief, however, is one that I love. No one on the Saints’ squad is more professional, more committed to the community and more high quality as a person. When we talked about how the Saints target “high character” players, Strief embodies that. The growth and progress he’s been able to make since being a 7th round draft pick is truly impressive. He patiently waited his turn as a trusted reserve for years, learning from Jon Stinchcomb – a total pro in his own right – before seizing the opportunity he was given last year to become a starter. Most people don’t realize how solid his performance at right tackle was last season. Strief is a hard working guy that has an extremely high IQ and he’s vocal. The maturation and development he’s experienced is a progress most NFL teams never see in a 7th round pick. What a gem he’s turned out to be. I fully expect to see him in the Pro Bowl in 2012. More importantly, the Saints’ offense has already let us know how valuable they think he is.