Monday Night Football has been a staple of the NFL for as long as most of us can remember. It’s the big show, the bright primetime lights that many young people grow up dreaming of. It’s fortunate, then, that Kenny Vaccaro is accustomed to big stages.
Before the four years Vaccaro spent with the Saints, he was with the Texas Longhorns, and played for a national championship in his freshman year. Texas lost that game to Alabama in a decisive finish after quarterback Colt McCoy went down, but Vaccaro’s career in burnt orange and white was far from over. He ended up being a defensive captain and was named a 1st Team All-American by Pro Football Weekly.
Vaccaro’s Texan roots go even further than that. He spent three years at Brownwood, playing alongside Casey Pachall. His senior year, he transferred to Early, and played there as well.
Vaccaro’s footprints are all over Texas, but tonight, he needs to be wary of Juilo Jones, Matt Ryan, and the Falcons offense leaving footprints all over him. Ryan is entering the game averaging 355.5 yards passing on the season, and has five touchdowns to a single pick. Julio Jones might be the best receiver in the league who doesn’t get talked about as much as he should, he has two touchdown grabs already. The Saints aren’t exactly known for their defense, so they’ll need a big game from Vaccaro out of his strong safety position in order to take home the W.
He’ll certainly have some help on the other side of the ball, as Austin Westlake grad Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, even at his age. If Brees can take some of the pressure off this defense, this game could be a romp for the Saints, who desperately need a dominating game, especially against their division rivals. The Saints are 0-2, but those losses have come against the Giants and the resurgent Raiders, both of whom are having solid seasons so far.
If New Orleans is to succeed tonight, they’ll have to lean on Vaccaro to make some plays in the passing game. Luckily for them, Vacarro is as tough as they come.