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Kenny Vaccaro to play more defined role for Saints' D

New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan acknowledged last season that he gave safety Kenny Vaccaro more responsibilities than any rookie he's ever coached.


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A movable chess piece (as NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell would say), Vaccaro spent time at every position except the defensive line in 2013.

By the time Vaccaro suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in December, Ryan was touting him as the best overall safety in the NFL.

Although the Saints still have high expectations for Vaccaro, coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that the safety will have a more defined role now that he's being paired with three-time Pro Bowl selection Jairus Byrd.

"As for Jairus and Kenny, I think there's a clear vision of how we want you use them, and that's important," Payton said, via The Times-Picayune. "Kenny played in a lot of spots last year. I think he'll play in less of those spots this year ... That vision this year will be a little more clearer."

The change in Vaccaro's role suggests Payton feels better about his defensive personnel now that Byrd is on board and Ryan has had a full season to teach his scheme. It's no longer a necessity for Vaccaro to fill in at cornerback and linebacker in sub-packages.

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