Brendon Ayanbadejo was signed in the offseason as a special teams ace, imported to improve an area of vulnerability. But after his performance against the New England Patriots (eight tackles, pass deflection on the Patriots' 2-point pass to win the game) has earned him a harder look at linebacker.
Before and after every practice since the game, Ayanbadejo and Jameel McClain have spent time with linebackers coach Greg Mattison and coaching intern Brad Jackson, learning the defenses. Ayanbadejo was sent into the game in New England after two injuries, even though he hadn't gotten any reps during the week. Mattison had to shout out Ayanbadejo's assignments on each play after he entered the game.
"I told both of them after that game, we're going to learn those defenses," Mattison said today.
"I'm not going to spoon feed you anymore."
Ayanbadejo and McClain figure to get substantial snaps on Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. They aren't going to challenge any starters, but they might show well enough to give the team more depth at the position.