Will Sants defense be improved?
There's been specuation that the Saints defense doesn't have the talent to be effective in 2003. There has been talk if the Saints should run the 3-4 or the 4-3 defense. The 3-4 is particularly good against the run, and one cannot argue the teams that use the 3-4 defense are not excellant at stopping opponents' running game.
Much of the credit should go to the players, not the scheme, although players are acquired to fit the scheme. If you've got round holes, you find round players to fill them.
That you can stop the run with the 3-4 does not preclude you from doing the same against the pass. After all, teams have finished 1st overall in defense using the 3-4.
But with the NFL moving into a passing mode -- the result of the Super Bowl notwithstanding -- is run defense still the priority?
Thus the question: Would the Saintss be better equipped to halt the pass using a 4-3 defense, or should they concentrate more on stopping the run?
Before we go any further, however, let's destroy the myth that the difficulties on pass and run defense were strictly a result of X's and O's. That was part of it. But the biggest reason was the poor performances by the personnel. Saint's pass defenders often looked as if they were it in a 60-minute game of tag and the middle of the run defense had more holes than swiss cheese.
You can pretty much play anything you want if you've got enough good players.
Even though the Saints defense did not perform like we all hoped, they had some talented players last year. Most notiably Darren Howard and Charles Grant. Oviously that was not enough talent to get the job done on defense last year. Which is exactly why there will be so many new faces on defense in training camp.
Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, what will the Saints take from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Something they already knew: It's better to generate a pass rush with four down linemen. That way, you don't have to blitz as often with as many people, which clearly gives you a better chance to defend the pass.
In today's NFL you cannot look at last years defense for clues on how this years defense will perform. You must look at the new talent that was broght in and the coaches history on getting a unit to perform.
This years defense clearly has much more talent than last year.
Since Jim Haslett has been a successful defensive coordinator in the NFL, the defense could be very productive.
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