One thing has become abundantly clear in the past nine months.
Michael DeMocker/The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints cornerback Tracy Porter knocks a pass away from Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin during a 14-9 victory Thursday night at the Superdome.
The New Orleans Saints are a completely different team with Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter at cornerback.
With those two on the field, they are a dominant team, a championship team, perhaps the best team in the NFL.
When Greer and Porter teamed on the defensive flanks, New Orleans' defense goes to another level. They complement the club's high-powered offense and transform the Saints into a complete team.
Since Greer signed as a free agent and Porter returned to health in 2009, the Saints are 12-0 in games when they start in tandem. They've won those contests by an average margin of 15 points.
We know numbers lie, but there's no way to diminish New Orleans' defensive statistics in its past four games.
The knock on the Saints' defense midway through last season was that their takeaway totals were built on a schedule stacked with rookie and first-year quarterbacks -- players like Matthew Stafford, Kevin Kolb, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman.
But no one can now make that claim.
Few teams in NFL history have faced a gauntlet as formidable as the four-game stretch the Saints just completed.
In that span, which includes all three playoff contests from last season, New Orleans has stymied three Hall of Fame-caliber quarterbacks -- Kurt Warner, Brett Favre (twice) and Peyton Manning.
Against the Saints, they completed 98 of 154 passes for an average of 270 yards a game with three touchdowns and five interceptions.
Their combined passer efficiency rating was 77.2, well below their combined career rating of 90.7.
Pass defense doesn't get much better than that.