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Tyrann Mathieu eager to reunite with Willie Gay: ‘The city is going to love him’

Tyrann Mathieu is eager to reunite with Willie Gay. The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker joined Mathieu (and other old teammates like Tanoh Kpassagnon, Khalen Saunders, and Ugo Amadi) on the New Orleans Saints this offseason, and Mathieu says he believes Gay will be a great fit. He discussed what the free agent pickup has to offer on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast.

“It’s amazing. Like coach says, it clears up the picture for you,” Mathieu said, considering the role Gay will play in Dennis Allen’s defense. “He is athletic, man. I think in the game today, when you have linebackers who can run just as fast as a slot receiver, who can handle the Darren Wallers in space, like it gives your defense an advantage, you know what I mean?”

The Saints had some trouble guarding tight ends and slot receivers last year. Pete Werner struggled in those assignments, and Gay will be competing with him for the starting job next to Demario Davis. Pro Football Focus charting found Werner allowed a career-high 470 receiving yards last season (another outlet, Pro Football Research, had him at 450), mostly to tight ends like Waller, T.J. Hockenson, and Luke Musgrave. Gay gives them a better option in those matchups.

Mathieu continued: “He’s going to be big-time for us. I think him coming in on a one-year deal, that’s going to allow him to be hungry, to be motivated. I already reached out to him, kind of talked to him, and let him know.”

And those movement skills in coverage make up just one area Mathieu points to as a strength. He also anticipates Gay bringing positive energy to the locker room, and for the linebacker to quickly endear himself to a new fanbase.

“The city is going to love him. Because he is so high energy, right, all day long. I think the fans are going to love him. Obviously the team will love him. He’s a good dude, a great teammate, he’s one of those linebackers that you’ve got to find a spot for him,” Mathieu said. “On third downs, can’t take him off the field.”

Gay himself has said he hopes to get on the field with Davis and Werner when the Saints run their base defense, but he might be their best bet at stopping the pass on third downs and in obvious passing situations, as Mathieu alluded to. That’s something they’ll be working to find out in training camp this summer. Wherever he’s lining up, Gay is expected to make a positive impact. Those expectations are coming from veteran teammates like Mathieu.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire