The New Orleans Saints will be forced to try to slow down quarterback Tyrod Taylor and company without a key contributor in the defensive backfield. Strong safety Kenny Vaccaro won’t play in Sunday’s clash against the Buffalo Bills, the team announced on Friday afternoon.
Vaccaro injured his groin during New Orleans’ 30-10 victory over the rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. He suffered the injury in the first half and didn’t return to action upon leaving the game. The Advocate’s Joel A. Erickson and Nick Underhill are reporting that Vaccaro’s absence was related mostly to precautionary measures.
The 2013 first-round pick didn’t practice on Thursday before being officially ruled out of Sunday’s action 24 hours later. It’s been an interesting season for Vaccaro, who opened the year as the Saints’ starter at strong safety but has recently been registering a lot of snaps at playing slot cornerback. With that shift has come improved performance from New Orleans’ defense overall. It is also worth noting that the Saints have surrendered less than 17 points in each of their past three games.
Despite his looming absence against the Bills, Vaccaro will enter Week 10 with 39 total tackles, a mark good for second on the team. He leads New Orleans with three interceptions and seven deflected passes, spearheading a pass defense that ranks among NFL leaders in multiple major categories.
The 6-2 Saints are currently first place in the NFC South, though veteran quarterback Cam Newton and the 6-3 Carolina Panthers are still biting at their heels.