Anzalone racked up four tackles and one sack during Sunday's victory over Pittsburgh. Anzalone came through big in one of the most important games of the season, one that helped New Orleans clinch home-field advantage throughout the postseason. However, he's averaging just 3.5 tackles per contest this season while playing in a situational role, rendering Anzalone as nothing more than a sack-dependent IDP option for the Saints' regular-season finale in Week 17 against Carolina.
Anzalone had four tackles (three solo) and a forced fumble in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers. He played 34 of the Saints' 66 defensive snaps. While Demario Davis played every defensive snap, Anzalone, A.J. Klein (25 snaps) and Manti Te'o (27 snaps) each saw a roughly equal amount of playing time in the opener, with only Anzalone -- who at least forced a turnover -- doing much of note in an ugly defensive performance. It's only one week so it may be too early to rush to judgment, but if Klein, Te'o and Anzalone continue to split snaps, it may be difficult for IDP owners to trust any Saints linebacker except Davis.
Anzalone said Tuesday that he's progressing well from October surgery to repair his right shoulder and indicated that he's "excited" to get back on the field in 2018, Herbie Teope of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. The linebacker was less confident that he would be at full strength for the start of the Saints' offseason program in the spring, but it doesn't appear Anzalone is concerned about his recovery stretching into the start of training camp. A 2017 third-round pick, Anzalone had served in a starting role in the Saints' first four games before suffering the season-ending injury and finishing his inaugural NFL campaign with 16 stops and one sack.
The Saints selected Anzalone in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, 76th overall. Anzalone is a bit of a durability worry, but when healthy he was a standout contributor on Florida's dominant defense. He's a very good athlete at the least, running a 4.63-second 40 at 6-foot-3, 241 pounds. He's not necessarily likely to start as a rookie, but the Saints are weak enough at linebacker that it shouldn't be ruled out.