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Halo 08-09-2010 12:07 PM

Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson Q&A
 
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During training camp last week, Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson discussed in detail what went wrong last season and what New Orleans needed to correct this year. Here is an exclusive Q&A with him:

Why did this defense give up so many long runs last year, and is it a point of emphasis this year?

“We looked at it real hard this offseason, and if you really want to get down to it, everybody had their finger on it, whether it was a technique up front, whether it was a technique on the second level, whether it was a force from the secondary. When we got back and looked at it, some of them were when we weren’t playing a run situation, and it sort of got our stats up.

“After going back and looking at it, do I feel like we can have a good, solid run defense? Yeah, I do. I feel like we’ve got some work to do from a technical standpoint, a situational standpoint, an every-position standpoint to come back and make sure that they are taking care of their end of it. The run game is like a nut in a bolt. It’s not one position. It’s that linebacker and that d-line playing together, that linebacker and that secondary playing together and learning to fit off each other. When you look back and you watch our physicalness or our activeness or our ability to want to go hit, that was a plus. When you look back from a statistical standpoint and a situational standpoint, that’s something we need to work on.”

How unusual is to have a solid defense that gave up so many big gains on the ground?

“You have to remember this about the defense we’re playing. We’re in a very multiple defense. You only get to practice so much, and sometimes you get a package out there and you get a formation that’s not exactly what we work to play that run out of. In some situational cases, we just didn’t play the defense right because I don’t think we were far enough along in our packages, with all the multiple packages that we have, to get all the run fits right. When you look at, that was probably the weakness you have to go after in the offseason. That’s your question. That’s everybody else’s question. But when I look at it, that’s the place we’ll put some emphasis on and hopefully we’re better.”

What happened when Arizona scored on that counter play of the first snap of the divisional playoff game?

“Simple. It was a junior high play and a misalignment. They came back and ran that play maybe five or six more times and got nothing. They got us in that formation, we didn’t quite get the end adjusted right, we missed a tackle, and there it goes pop, and the next thing you know it’s 7 down. The beauty is we were able to fix most of the problems during the course of the game. Let’s do that now during training camp and see if we can’t get better.”

Do you think you’re better personnel-wise against the run this year?

“We’ve improved ourselves athletically and in depth as far as the front is concerned. Jimmy Wilkerson and Alex Brown are very professional guys and really have brought a lot to our team. Al Woods is a good athlete, he’s got so much upside to him. He’s raw, raw and raw, but he’s a good pick and the body type that we needed, and it was a good pick for us. As the season goes on, that body type is going to help us, and the experience of these two ends we’ve brought in, they are going to really do a good job and help us also.”



Rugby Saint II 08-09-2010 01:13 PM

Re: Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson Q&A
 
We just keep getting better..........I still wish we had a large aggressive athlete to play next to Ellis in the 4-3 when we run it. Ayodele is alright but we don't have the right body type to play that DT position. imho

darstep 08-09-2010 01:19 PM

Re: Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson Q&A
 
Ellis made a huge difference in our run stuff capabilities. Surely his absence alone wasn't what turned the tide against us so drastically. Other guys (up front) are going to have to step it up if the injury bug bites again this year. Defense once again will determine our fate. If we can hold teams below 20, 1 touchdown 1 field goal each half, we will beat most teams and again contend for the title. If we have to win games 43-37, we are going to have to be really lucky in order to get it done. Making teams one dimentional and keeping them in 3rd and longs will help a lot. I ran out of ink tracking the number of 3rd and longs we let team convert last year. I surely hope that gets better.

QBREES9 08-09-2010 10:13 PM

Re: Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson Q&A
 
“We’ve improved ourselves athletically and in depth as far as the front is concerned. Jimmy Wilkerson and Alex Brown are very professional guys and really have brought a lot to our team. Al Woods is a good athlete, he’s got so much upside to him. He’s raw, raw and raw, but he’s a good pick and the body type that we needed, and it was a good pick for us. As the season goes on, that body type is going to help us, and the experience of these two ends we’ve brought in, they are going to really do a good job and help us also.”


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