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 METAIRIE, La. (AP) -If Jason David's decision to leave 2006 Super Bowl champion Indianapolis for more money in New Orleans had gone as the cornerback envisioned, he probably wouldn't be playing much - if at all - in the Saints' preseason finale against Miami on Thursday night.
His job would be secure, and coaches wouldn't want to risk injury by leaving him on the field for long with the regular season starting in a little more than a week. But David's job is anything but secure. He'll play a lot and may need to play well just to keep his spot on the roster.
``I really can't pay too much attention to that kind of stuff,'' David, who turned 26 in June, said after practice on Tuesday. ``That's really not in my hands. That's up to the coaching staff. I've just got to go out there and keep competing at practice and show them I'm trying to get better and I'm still a growing player in this league.''
David lost his starting job when he allowed a 26-yard TD pass and three other first-down receptions during the first half of the Saints' 31-27 loss to Houston on Aug. 16. That was only the latest performance to incite the boo-birds in the Louisiana Superdome since David became the Saints' highest-profile offseason acquisition on defense in 2007, when he signed a four-year, $15.6 million offer as a restricted free agent.
The Colts could have kept David by matching it. As it turned out, David's first regular season game in a Saints uniform was in Indianapolis. It got off to a good start for him; he stripped the ball from receiver Reggie Wayne, recovered the fumble and ran it back for a 55-yard touchdown. However, his season went largely downhill from there, starting with allowing touchdown catches of 28 and 45 yards by Wayne in the same game.
Other 2007 lowlights included a 69-yard TD by Tampa Bay's Joey Galloway, an 80-yard TD by Jacksonville's Reggie Williams and Andre Johnson's 73-yard touchdown catch.
David said he was having trouble with the adjustment to the Saints' man-to-man coverage scheme after spending his first three NFL seasons playing in a zone defense with the Colts, who'd drafted the former Washington State standout. Saints coaches stuck by him, believing he would get it eventually.
Now, patience is growing thin. Head coach Sean Payton declined to specify this week whether David is fighting simply for more playing time or a spot on the 2008 roster, but his comments made it clear that David wouldn't be doing himself any favors with another poor performance.
``I wouldn't want to elaborate whether a player is safe (from being cut) or whether he's involved in discussions, but certainly we're evaluating all of our players for this final roster,'' Payton said.
At 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, David's primary attributes are his speed, leaping ability and good hands.
While sometimes he has been a step behind during games, the athleticism that made him attractive to the Saints is often evident in practice.
During 1-on-1 cover drills on Tuesday, David stepped in front of Marques Colston's crossing route for an interception. He then picked off an underthrown ball intended for Joe West and broke up a deep pass intended for Terrance Copper.
His real problems seem to be either hesitating when there's a play-action fake to a running back or communicating with safeties when receivers cross paths downfield.
``It's just being consistent with technique,'' Payton said. ``The good news is you're seeing'' David's ability to cover receivers in practice.
``If you weren't seeing it, it would be an easier decision,'' Payton said. ``But you're seeing it. You're seeing explosion, you're seeing a guy break on the ball, so that's a good thing.''
If David does remain, he'll likely have to compete for snaps with rookie Tracy Porter, who's starting Thursday night, along with Randall Gay, Jason Craft and Aaron Glenn. Mike McKenzie, who so far has come back strong from reconstructive knee surgery, is expected to start at the other cornerback slot.
David also can play on special teams - either returning or covering punts and kicks. He said he'd be willing to do whatever it took to help the Saints win.
``Of course you would love to start in the NFL, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way,'' David said. ``You know, I'm still a young player in this league and I feel like I've got a lot more football to go, whether it's at corner or on special teams, so I'm just going to continue to give it all I've got, whatever position I'm playing on the field and just hope that I can get as much snaps as I can.''
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