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New Orleans Saints' depleted secondary to have hands full covering Randy Moss, Wes Welker

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; New Orleans Saints' depleted secondary to have hands full covering Randy Moss, Wes Welker By Nakia Hogan, The Times-Picayune November 28, 2009, 8:00AM New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton isn't going to try to fool himself. When he watches New ...

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Old 11-29-2009, 03:18 PM   #1
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New Orleans Saints' depleted secondary to have hands full covering Randy Moss, Wes Welker

New Orleans Saints' depleted secondary to have hands full covering Randy Moss, Wes Welker
By Nakia Hogan, The Times-Picayune
November 28, 2009, 8:00AM
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton isn't going to try to fool himself.

When he watches New England Patriots receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker, Payton sees a dominant duo, the most talented threats his banged-up defensive backs have faced this season, perhaps the best tandem in the NFL.
"If you just look at the numbers, I think all that statistically speaks for itself, " Payton said. "I don't think (there's any question). I think these two are the best.
"There's a carryover effect with what they've done offensively. They've had some change in coordinators, but the system's never changed. Tom (Brady) has been in the same system for quite some time now and hasn't had to deal with a new offense. It shows up on tape."
What Payton is seeing is what the rest of the NFL, especially the AFC teams, have witnessed for quite some time.
Moss is 6 feet 4 with blinding speed, and Welker is 5 feet 9 with exceptional quickness and good hands.
Moss has caught 63 passes for 925 yards and eight touchdowns. Welker has grabbed 79 for 854 yards and four touchdowns.
That could be too much for a Saints' secondary that has been hampered recently by a rash of injuries.
Starting cornerbacks Tracy Porter, who has a sprained MCL, and Jabari Greer, who has a strained groin, missed last week's 38-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was the second consecutive game missed by Greer, who has practiced this week and appears questionable to play.
Nickel back Randall Gay suffered a pulled hamstring two weeks ago and only has been able to practice on a limited basis. And No. 5 cornerback Leigh Torrence was placed on injured reserve Monday with a shoulder injury.
The injuries caused the Saints to sign veteran cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Mike McKenzie in back-to-back weeks. Their availability for Monday night's game against the Patriots remains uncertain.
With or without a full allotment of Saints' cornerbacks, the Patriots said they aren't expecting an easy outing.
"A lot of people put a lot of emphasis on that, " Welker said. "We had the same thing going into Indy. I think with the pass rush and the way they blitz and things like that can present problems, and they can almost plug anybody in there and have success."
Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said his defensive backs will be up for the challenge.
"You will never hear me ever, ever, ever talk about guys who aren't playing or guys who are playing, " Williams said. "That is who we are playing with. We have to coach with them. We have to play with them. I like our guys.
"We have a good mix of guys around here with a lot of varying skill levels, and that's challenging for me and challenging for our staff to try to help get them in the right positions."
With the Patriots' passing attack, which ranks second in the NFL, rolling lately, it could lead to some interesting matchups against the Saints, who have the league's No. 15-ranked pass defense.
Welker is coming off his best professional performance, with 15 receptions for 192 yards against the Jets. He is averaging 9.9 receptions in eight games.
Meanwhile, Moss continues to do what he does best -- beat defenders deep. He has 14 receptions of at least 20 yards this season. He also has five 100-yard receiving performances.
"We are excited about this game, " said Saints rookie cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, who could earn his second start of the season Monday. "This is one of those games that when you look at it down the road, you kind of keep it in the back of your mind. Now that the week is here, I think we are well aware of what we have on our hands."
Jenkins, who had his first career interception last week, said he expects to face his toughest test to date.
He grew up watching Moss burn cornerbacks deep. And lately he's watched Welker become a star with precise route running and excellent pass-catching ability.
And just three weeks ago, he watched Brady routinely test Miami Dolphins rookie cornerback Vontae Davis, a good friend of Jenkins.
So Jenkins said he expects to receive the same treatment.
"I know if I were an offensive coordinator, I would, just to at least test it out, " Jenkins said. "I'm pretty sure they are going to test whoever is in the game, whether it's somebody who is just coming back to see if they are healthy or somebody new to see if they are ready yet. But we are going to get tested."

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