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New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level More heralded fraternal groups, such as the Giants, have siphoned the attention during game week. More celebrated names, such as Atlanta's John Abraham and Carolina's Julius Peppers, have drawn the ...

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Old 11-10-2009, 10:27 AM   #1
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New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

More heralded fraternal groups, such as the Giants, have siphoned the attention during game week.

More celebrated names, such as Atlanta's John Abraham and Carolina's Julius Peppers, have drawn the national headlines on Mondays and Sundays.

But all factors considered and all numbers totaled, has any defensive line in the NFL this season played any better than the Saints' line has after eight games? No, really.

Granted, New Orleans' line play pretty much only could ascend after last season, when ends Will Smith and Charles Grant were injured and combined for just six sacks, tackle Sedrick Ellis was a rookie and the Saints simply didn't get what they wanted or needed out of tackles Hollis Thomas and Brian Young.

And numbers often don't tell the entire story; sacks have become such a weighty measure that they almost solely have become the barometer by which defensive linemen -- defensive ends, especially -- are judged. And the number of pressures and hits applied can mean just as much, or more, than sacks because of the cumulative effect they can have on a quarterback.

But numbers-wise, the Saints' group sacks up with comparatively with any of them. Impact-wise, it probably has trumped most of them.

And the Saints have done it with a collage of the high-priced and cast off, of first-round picks and the scrap-heap pickups, of Day-1 starters and backups making the most of their chances.

The celebrated Peppers, one of the league's best, was credited with all of one tackle and one quarterback hurry Sunday, when the Saints defeated Carolina 30-20 to improve to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history.

Smith, a former Pro Bowler who's injury-free and storming opposing backfields, posted two sacks for the second consecutive game, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry and a forced fumble. Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, starting in place of injured Sedrick Ellis, had three tackles, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries -- one off a sack by Smith and one he caused, and promptly returned one for a touchdown and the final points of the game.

Tackle DeMario Pressley came off the practice squad -- after Clancy was placed on injured reserve -- and had a couple of tackles, including a tackle for loss, against the Panthers. And defensive end Charles Grant finished with three tackles (one solo) and a quarterback hurry.
And that only was Sunday.

Smith has 6.5 sacks this season, Grant has four and Hargrove has three. In all, defensive linemen have 15.5 of the Saints' 19 sacks; last year, they accounted for 22 of the team's 28. Nose tackle Remi Ayodele joins Hargrove with a touchdown scored and Smith has forced a couple of fumbles, including one Ayodele recovered for his score.

"I think some of the depth has been important for us, " Coach Sean Payton said. "A guy like (nose tackle) Remi Ayodele is a guy that not a lot of people probably knew about a year ago. He stepped up in the absence of a few guys.

"Kendrick Clancy's gotten hurt, all of sudden Sed Ellis is out and Mario Pressley is playing. Anthony Hargrove (is playing well). All these guys have stepped in and done a good job of holding up the fort."

The Saints, in fact, are tied for 14th in sacks, and are on pace for 38, their most since 2006, Payton's first season as head coach.

"It hasn't been perfect, " Payton said. "But I think the players understand. You take a guy like Pressley who, a few weeks back, is disappointed that he's going to be on the practice squad and six weeks later, he's playing a lot of snaps in a game.

"That happens in our league maybe more than other leagues, where you might be a weekend removed from being a starter compared to being an inactive."

This season, "inactive" is a word that doesn't apply to the Saints' defensive line. Not when it has played as well, and often better, than its counterparts.

New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level | New Orleans Saints Central - - NOLA.com

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Last edited by hagan714; 11-11-2009 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 11-10-2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

nice article as always.. love the praise on our team...
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

The defensive line must be very well coached, they don't seem to lose a lot of pressure when the back ups are in. What did ya'll think about how Pressley played? I've been pulling for him since we drafted him.
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:02 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

Well I don't know if we are at an elite level. I mean they are playing good and I think our secondary is making them look better at times, which is nothing wrong with that.

I think Will Smith is finally coming into his own and I am still suspect if Grant really is the guy with his fat check.
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

I haven't heard much from McCray. Didn't he expect to be a starter with 10 sacks this season?
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Old 11-11-2009, 08:08 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

Elite? Thats laughable.

Better than average, I'll buy that.
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Old 11-12-2009, 09:44 AM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

seems a little weird that charles grant has disappeared the past few weeks, in the panthers game he had a clean shot at delhomme and didn't both to peel off the panthers right tackle to get Delhomme.
I want to see a lil bit more from mccray, will smith is reacting well, if grant doesn't do anything i think they should give mccray more of a rotation.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:05 PM   #8
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Cool Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

Originally Posted by Rugby Saint II View Post
The defensive line must be very well coached, they don't seem to lose a lot of pressure when the back ups are in. What did ya'll think about how Pressley played? I've been pulling for him since we drafted him.
Pressley needs to play more, his 1st tackle was behind the line for a loss his 2nd tackle he caught the back from behind for a 3 yd gain. He seems active and quick. Against the run although Hargrove is quicker to me, Pressley has a little more power. And if he playing time and production increase over the next two games, we will see Ellis and Pressley on the field at the same time.
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Old 11-12-2009, 03:19 PM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints' defensive line performing at an elite level

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
Elite? Thats laughable.

Better than average, I'll buy that.
Elite... turnovers and defensive TDs.
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