METAIRIE, La. — With all the talk about how physical rookie defensive back Kenny Vaccaro has been this training camp, it would be easy to blame him for Joseph Morgan’s season-ending injury.
He’s the one, after all, who tackled Morgan during Saturday’s Black and Gold scrimmage, tearing the receiver’s meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the process.
But Vaccaro’s teammates all came to his defense Wednesday, minutes after coach Sean Payton announced Morgan’s season-ending status.
“It was such a freak play,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “It’s not like it was the blatant, obvious… It was kind of bang-bang. He catches it and Kenny is there to jump on his back and in the process of putting his knee down, it just kind of buckles on him or gets caught in a funny position.
“Sometimes you have those freak incidents where it’s kind of out of everyone’s control. It just happens.”
Added receiver Marques Colston, “He’s a guy that’s out here and he’s doing what the coaches have asked him to do. Like I said, unfortunately that’s kind of the nature of this game. But you can’t really fault a guy for playing and practicing hard."
The injury happened on the fourth play of the scrimmage. Brees threw a four-yard pass to Morgan in the right flat and Vaccaro grabbed him, riding him to the ground for the tackle.
Afterward, Morgan was quick to tweet that the injury wasn’t the young safety’s fault.
Don't blame @KennyVaccaro4 It was a routine tackle. I admire how feisty a player he is too. He's going be great for us.— Joseph Morgan (@jmthegreat) August 3, 2013
Offensive tackle Zach Strief said how Vaccaro is playing in practice will translate into game in the regular season.
“I’ll tell you right now – that guy that works his butt off out here and people are going, ‘Boy, he’s going a little hard, what’s his deal?’ ” Strief said. “That guy is going to be good during the season, and as soon as that fourth (preseason game) gets played and the roster’s set and he’s on your team, man, you’re putting your arm around him like, ‘Glad you’re here.’ ”