Saints Defense: aware of tackling problems.. looking to correct by Monday.
New Orleans Saints coaches reportedly did not stick lumps of coal in defenders' stockings this morning, but that doesn't mean the players aren't aware they were more nice than naughty when it came to tackling last Sunday.
"You can't try to deflect or act like it didn't happen. It did happen. They rushed for more than 200 yards on us, and they deserved it the way we tackled, the way we played," linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma said. "You look at it, you take it for what it is, and you be honest with yourself and look to improve."
Such improvement will be required Monday night when the Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons and talented back Michael Turner. The Falcons boast the seventh-best rushing attack in the NFL, and much of the credit goes to Turner, who has 1,256 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Turner is one of only five running backs in the league to gain more than 3,000 yards and score more than 30 touchdowns since 2008.
The Saints' tackling to date presents no cause for alarm. Before the Ravens loss it has been an aspect of the Saints play that drew regular praise form Coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. But that skill deserted the Saints, for a number of reasons, in Baltimore.
The most glaring of them was Ray Rice, who gashed the Saints for 153 yards and averaged nearly 5 yards per carry. Turner presents a different challenge, according to the Saints, but no less formidable.
"Turner's the kind of guy who can run you over and -- he doesn't get enough credit for this -- he's shifty enough to get outside, too," linebacker Scott Shanle said. "I think that kind of dynamic is even tougher than somebody who is just kind of a jitterbug."
It was those qualities that Payton cited Friday when asked about his plan for stopping the Falcons' running game.
"The running game is about fits, it's about all those fundamentals that we preach and talk about," he said. "One thing about Michael Turner is he has very good pad level and he runs with that. And so he's a hard target. I've heard the expression, 'you have his shoulder pads and then all of a sudden there are his shins.' So he protects himself very well. He's got a great center of gravity, he's got good vision and good balance -- there's all those qualities that make him a special running back."
The best way to counter that, several players said, is a reliance on what used to be called "gang tackling," but in modern terms "populations to the ball."
"We've got to get populations to the ball, not just one guy -- we can't depend on one guy to make this tackle over and over, or we're going to miss it," safety Roman Harper said. "We've got to be great at tackling. He leads the league in broken tackles, yards after contact, things like that. He's really good at making guys miss, bouncing off guys and getting downhill fast. It's going to be a totally different beast. We've got to limit this guy."
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New Orleans Saints defense tackles recent problems | NOLA.com
Glad to see this as well. The Saints defense has some challenges keeping the Raven's defense away from Brees last Sunday. That definitely won't work against the Falcons either.
We need both strong offensive and defensive strategies that work effectively!
Now, if they just execute what they plan, then Turner should be shut down much more nicely than Ray Rice. Losing is not an option.
The Falcan'ts running game has been very good this year....so has our run defense.(until last week) I fully expect GW to alter his tackling approach to ensure the tackle and make the strip a secondary priority. We've got to commit to the run and let our corners do their job.
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