Saints injuries are adding up

The Saints philosophy is next man up and in the case of their linebackers, it's next men up from the west coast.

Monday, the Saints acquired veteran linebacker Barrett Ruud from Seattle for an undisclosed draft pick.

All three starting linebackers are injured and interim head coach Joe Vitt isn't sure who will be back in time for the start of the regular season.

Linebacker Chris Chamberlain went down Friday night with a season-ending injury to his left knee, David Hawthorne tore a meniscus in his knee, and starting middle linebacker Curtis Lofton suffered a high ankle sprain.

Vitt said he hopes to have Lofton and Hawthorne back for the September 9 opener against the Washington Redskins: "We certainly think Curtis is going to be available for the first game. Diagnosis on David is encouraging. He did it early in the game and played on it. He has a chance to be back for the next game."

The Saints tackling against Jacksonville was shoddy at best. Vitt said there are no excuses, but he said the Superdome changes its turf field every year, and his players didn't practice on it.

"I probably should have sent my team out on it to practice and get used to the turf," Vitt told WGNO Sports. "In pre-game, Mike Mularky was complaining that all of their players were falling down. Mike, I don't care if your players are falling down. We got our cleats stuck. We probably should have had them practice first."

The Saints spent a period at practice working on their first opponent, the Redskins. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo didn't have any problem making his point: "You have to turn the ball carrier back, it's a bad play. Let's run it again."

The Saints host the Houston Texans on Saturday night.