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DE Will Smith (National Champion, Super Bowl Champion, Pro-bowler; R.I.P.)

Plum Diamonds Lab Grown Diamond Rings


Don't be penurious, donate to the BP Spring Dr.
They talked about him during the game last night and said it was his job to shadow Vick, because of his speed. He tracked down Vick pretty fast on that play near the end zone.
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Poison in a Pretty Glass
They talked about him during the game last night and said it was his job to shadow Vick, because of his speed. He tracked down Vick pretty fast on that play near the end zone.

Kept him from the end zone too (well, the end zone between the pylons that is, after they awarded Vick the TD for crossing the infinite goalline that extends past the field width before stepping out of bounds). Will was all over him, simply beautiful to watch in slow motion each time they showed it. :)
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HTTR Forever.
Dec 15 New Orleans Saints DE Darren Howard (knee) will not play in the club's final three games of the season as DE Will Smith has established himself as a full-time starter and the team wants rookie DE Jimmy Verdon to receive playing time as Smith's backup.
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Capo Regime
Staff member


<table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr><td align="left" valign="top" width="65%">NFL: SAINTS: Leading by example
</td> <td colspan="9" rowspan="2" align="center" valign="center" width="35%">

</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="subtitularNoticia" valign="top">
</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Defensive end Will Smith prefers to let his deeds speak for him as a pass rusher and run stopper as one of the leaders of the Saints defensive line.

Michael C. Hebert
"I feel that I am a leader, but at the same time, I'm not the vocal leader, I'm just the guy who tries to show by example," Smith said about his role. "I think leaders don't make themselves, people make leaders. If the team chooses me to be a leader, or any of the rest of the guys as a leader, that's how you become one."

The third-year pro out of Ohio State has not-so-quietly become a force on the Saints defensive line. A player who can rush the edges of the offensive line, get his hands on the quarterback and sometimes separate man from football, Smith has posted impressive numbers in his first two seasons.

Smith was drafted by the Saints in the first round (18th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft and made an immediate impact in his rookie season.

He posted 59 tackles (41 solo), 7.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as he played in all 16 games (four starts -- including the first two games of the season). He had six or more tackles in three games and a sack in seven different contests on the way to All-Rookie honors by Pro Football Weekly.

Last season, he was not a full-time starter until the final six games of the season as he played in all 16 games and started nine contests. He led the team with a career-high 8.5 sacks, made 85 total tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and six pass defenses.

Seven times in his first two seasons, Smith has forced a fumble (including in a club-record five consecutive games over the final four games of 2004 and the 2005 opener) and he says it is equal parts technique and hard work.

"For one, ends have a lot of opportunities because when you look back quarterbacks lead the league in fumbles," Smith said. "The right ends are coming from the back side so we hit their arms -- that's what we practice every day -- to knock the ball out as we are hitting them, which will cause them to fumble the ball."

Running backs who Smith is trying to run down from behind are not immune, either.

"In the back-side pursuit, when the running back is going and you are coming from behind him, we are taught to tackle by bringing one arm (around the ballcarrier) and using the other arm to knock out the ball. If you miss the ball, you are going to tackle him regardless, but you want to get that ball out."

Continual practice and help from his friends on the defensive unit also help to create turnover chances.

"It's a matter of following your routine and that every time you are trying to tackle somebody, you are trying to go for the ball," Smith said. "If there is a gang of people on one guy and he is still moving forward, somebody has to try to reach for the ball and pull it out. A running back can't run and fight off a bunch of defenders at the same time."

A NFL defensive end must be both a run-stopper and a pass-rusher and balancing the skills are critical to a team's success.

"You have to play with good leverage," Smith said about playing the run. "A lot of people say you have to be big and strong. I think you have to play with good leverage and get inside the chest of the guy and read off the (offensive) lineman and read what type of block he is trying to give you."

DE Will Smith has 16 sacks in his first two NFL seasons
DE Will Smith has 16 sacks in his first two NFL seasons
Michael C. Hebert
He is an accomplished pass rusher with a combined 16 sacks in his first two seasons. He and fellow end Charles Grant are charged with cornering the quarterback and not allowing him an escape route.

"Charles and I are the top two pass rushers on the team and we have to work at it, try to stay consistent, get up the field, get pressure and cause more turnovers," he said.

"I think I'm solid on both ends, I can stop the run and pass rush," he continued. "I want to be as balanced as I can be, because last season in a lot of cases we were down (on the scoreboard) and teams had no choice but to run the ball on us. We had to tighten down and we had to focus on our run blocking and that helped me out a lot."

In either case, Smith has to take on opposing offensive tackles, a much different assignment in the NFL than it was in college.

"In college, you scheme more, the tackles protect the quarterback a little more and they are young and playing hard," he said. "In the NFL, the difference is that the offensive linemen are on their own, they're much smarter and much stronger. Most of the good tackles are older guys. Being a young guy, I'm going up against a guy who has seen every single pass rush known to man and have an advantage because of their experience."

Smith is working constantly to improve his game by putting time in film study.

"I am focused on becoming a better student of the game," he said. "I am watching a lot of film, studying teams and other pass rushers. I want to learn as much as possible from other people. I want to learn different type of styles so that when I see a tackle sending me a certain way, I know how to alter my pass rush in order to beat him."

Smith and the remainder of the defensive line have a new position coach in 2006 as Marion Hobby tutors the group.

"He brings a sense of urgency on the defensive line," Smith said. "We are always out there early doing drills and he constantly has us going and have us working on the littlest things because he knows we are all great athletes, so we won't beat ourselves and won't take the wrong step -- all of the little things will be taken care of and we can just go out and play football. He wants us to be the best all of the time."

Hobby's early coaching experience as strength and conditioning coach at the University of Tennessee and his time in the NFL as a player has helped the line get ready in a demanding position.

"He has us in a type of conditioning and a type of endurance we will need to finish a game, so that's why he works us so hard to get us ready for the upcoming season," Smith said. "So when we get into the fourth quarter, we have enough endurance and strength to last the whole game."
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A Will, A Way
Proctor grad Smith steps into new NFL role with Saints

Sunday, Sep 10, 2006

[email protected]

NEW ORLEANS ? After making the most of every opportunity in his first two National Football League seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Utica's Will Smith can dare to dream of a Pro Bowl trip to Hawaii.

Why not?

Over the last two seasons, Smith has started only 13 of 32 games. But the former Thomas R. Proctor High School standout still has 16 career sacks, including a team-high 8 1/2 sacks last year, and now ? for the first time ? he will start the season knowing that he has one of the Saints' defensive end spots all to himself.

That track record and the increased playing time are two reasons why many NFL insiders look at the 6-foot-3, 282-pounder and see a former first-round draft pick on the brink of stardom.

Smith likes what he sees, too.

"I'm really looking forward to this a lot," Smith said in a telephone interview a few days ago, while the Saints were preparing for today's season opener against Cleveland Browns. "To have the chance to play all the games, all the time, without coming out as much as I did before. ...

"I wouldn't say I'm getting an opportunity ? the opportunity's always been there ? I'd say that it's going to give me a chance to show what I can do."

Great start

So far, Smith has done plenty with the playing time he's gotten.

Since New Orleans made the Ohio State University star the 18th pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Smith has made Pro Football Weekly's All-Rookie Team and has led the Saints in sacks, despite spending much of his first two seasons in a three-man rotation with veterans Charles Grant and Darren Howard.

The team placed the "franchise" tag on Howard for 2004 and 2005, but when he was injured late last season and was slow to return, Smith became a full-time starter for the final six games and Howard ? since signed as a free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles ? was considered expendable.

Smith finished the year with 48 solo stops and 60 tackles, and his play was widely recognized as one of the very few bright spots during a tumultuous season that started with the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and ended with a 3-13, last-place finish in the NFC South.

"They gave me an opportunity here; I wasn't just thrown out there," said Smith, not at all displeased with the way the Saints have groomed him into a full-time starter. "I learned a lot from Darren and Charles. We learned from each others' mistakes."

Meanwhile, Proctor players now learn from what Smith has done.

"The kids here now know it's possible for someone from here to accomplish what Will has done," said Proctor assistant football coach Paul Filletti, who still keeps in close contact with Smith. "It's not like a dream, now, it's more of a reality. Will's proven that it's not just some far-fetched dream. It can happen."

Smith would like to make the Pro Bowl and he thinks 15, maybe 16 sacks are within reach now that he is a regular playing in a new defensive system that should allow him more freedom to utilize his strength and explosive pass-rushing skills ? enough, as far as some pigskin prognosticators are concerned, to make him the 2006 version of Osi Umenyoira, the New York Giants defensive end who elevated his game to Pro Bowl-level last year.

"I want to be known for more than sacks when I'm done with football," Smith said. "A lot of people play in the NFL and they're not that successful. I don't want to be known as just another guy. I want to be successful.

"In this system, they expect a lot from the two defensive ends, and they see me as one of the best guys on our defense. They expect me to make a lot of plays and they're trying to put me in more situations where I can make more plays."

"They" would include new Saints head coach Sean Payton and Gary Gibbs, the team's new defensive coordinator.

"Certainly with Charles and Will, those two guys need to be players for us," said Gibbs. "There's no question we're counting on those guys to bring something to the table."

Time to change

Smith, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder during the offseason, has welcomed Gibbs' "attacking" style of defense.

"I like this defense," Smith said. "I think this (defense) suits my style."

Smith's emergence as a team leader and active playmaker is only one reason why the Saints and their fans are brimming with optimism.

There's a new coaching staff, a new starting quarterback in former San Diego Charger Drew Brees, and a highly-touted, first-round draft pick in former USC star running back Reggie Bush ? who, like Smith, is accustomed to winning. There's also a welcome return to their New Orleans home, one year after Hurricane Katrina sent the city and its team packing.

"It's more upbeat here," Smith said. "Last year, we just didn't know when we'd be able to go back to New Orleans. Everything was really up in the air. You never really knew what was going on. ... Not to make excuses, but there were a lot of factors last year. We were at a disadvantage."

If nothing else, Smith, who turned 25 on the Fourth of July, says the Saints ? out of the playoff picture since 2000 -- will kick off 2006 with much more stability than they did a year ago.

And with his help as a every-down player, he fully expects a better outcome.

"I always expect to win," he said. "I come from a winning college program, and a lot of the guys we have now are guys who come from winning programs. They expect to win, too. This is a different year. There a different people here. It's a new, fresh start, and it's kind of brought back the excitement here."

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Capo Regime
Staff member

Saints' Will Smith pursues happiness ? a spot in the Super Bowl

swapContent('firstHeader','applyHeader'); By Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY
Will Smith can cause quite the buzz.
There was the time the New Orleans Saints defensive end had a dinner reservation at a fancy New York restaurant. The staff made certain that a secluded table saved for impressive VIPs was secured. Red-carpet treatment waited.
When Smith arrived there was, well, confusion.
"They told me, 'We thought it was the actor,' " Smith recalled this week from his cellphone, hustling on a busy day off. "But hey, I'm just a football player. I'm a nobody."

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Capo Regime
Staff member

Utica's Smith helps Saints reach NFC title game
Thursday, Jan 18, 2007

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Heavenly season

I n just three NFL seasons, Will Smith has almost seen it all. Now, after playing a starring role in the feel-good story of the year, the New Orleans Saints' Pro Bowl defensive end from Utica can even picture himself playing for a Super Bowl ring.

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