McCray sliding into starting role for Saints

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

When the Saints signed defensive end Bobby McCray in the offseason, they viewed him as a starter.

McCray didn't start any of the first eight games, but he's now a starter. With Charles Grant going on the injured reserve list with a triceps injury, McCray automatically becomes the starter opposite Will Smith.

McCray's played well as the third defensive end and has three sacks. But his playing time is going to increase and it should be interesting to see how he fares. McCray's strength is as a pass-rusher and he had 10 sacks for Jacksonville in 2006. McCray's not known as a run stopper, but he may generate more pressure on quarterbacks than Grant.

The Saints did make another move that could help their run defense, re-signing defensive tackle Hollis Thomas. He went down with an injury just before the start of the season and could immediately step into the defensive line rotation.