METAIRIE, La. -- Call it a position change, but don’t call Will Smith’s switch to outside linebacker a role change.
“Essentially, I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, which is to primarily rush the passer,’’ Smith said.
In his 10th NFL season, Smith is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker as the Saints transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme.
“I’m still rushing the passer,’’ Smith said. “I’m still doing the same things I’ve always done. I wouldn’t say it reinvigorates me. It just puts me in a better position than I was in last year.’’
Although he was playing right defensive end last year, Smith said he frequently was asked to drop in coverage and do other tasks that didn’t allow him to focus on being a pass-rusher. At outside linebacker, Smith may have to cover at times, but his primary role will be as a pass-rusher and he’ll get to do it while standing up.
That’s more than fine with Smith.
“It makes it a lot easier standing up,’’ Smith said. “You can kind of see the plays a little bit faster as they develop. It’s just something different. I’ve been on the right side most of my career. Now, I’ll be on the right side, the left side and in the middle.’’