Go Back   New Orleans Saints - blackandgold.com > Main > Saints
Shop Horizontal

Mitchell, Dunbar shine for Saints ‘D’

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; METAIRIE — As the New Orleans Saints defense faced perhaps its biggest challenge of the season, two of its least-heralded players helped key an outstanding effort. Linebackers Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Marvin Mitchell helped shore up a run defense that was ...

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-01-2011, 09:42 AM   #1
Threaded by QBREES9
Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Haven Ct
Posts: 18,463

Show Printable Version Email this Page
Rating: (0 votes - average)

METAIRIE — As the New Orleans Saints defense faced perhaps its biggest challenge of the season, two of its least-heralded players helped key an outstanding effort.

Linebackers Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Marvin Mitchell helped shore up a run defense that was battered by Baltimore a week earlier and shut down an Atlanta running game that had battered it early in the season.

The result was a 17-14 win against the Falcons on Monday, which sent the Saints back into the playoffs and put the defense back on track heading into the regular-season finale against Tampa Bay on Sunday in the Superdome.

Dunbar, starting for the first time in seven games, led the team with six tackles, including five solo, which tied for the team lead, and one tackle for loss. Mitchell recovered a Michael Turner fumble to end an Atlanta scoring threat at the New Orleans 1-yard line.

The Saints de-activated Danny Clark, who had started nine consecutive games at strongside linebacker, and replaced him with Dunbar. They hoped Dunbar could help improve a run defense that had allowed a season-high 208 rushing yards to the Ravens. They also hoped to do a better job against Turner, who had 114 of the 202 rushing yards the Falcons had in a 27-24 overtime victory in Game 3.

“We felt like the way this defensive game plan set up, we were going to be off the ball with that linebacker,” coach Sean Payton said. “We were going to be playing more behind the tackle box area. That’s something that Jo-Lonn does pretty well.”

Dunbar, who Payton said “graded out very well,” entered training camp as the presumed front-runner to replace Scott Fujita, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent, at strongside linebacker. During the preseason, the Saints moved Scott Shanle from weakside to strongside and inserted Jonathan Casillas at weakside. Shortly thereafter, Casillas suffered a season-ending injury, Shanle moved back to weakside, and Dunbar became the starter at strongside.

That lasted just five games, even though Dunbar had 13 tackles in the first game against the Falcons. Clark, signed as a free agent late in the preseason, replaced Dunbar as the starter for the sixth game. Dunbar was inactive twice at mid-season and for the game against the Ravens.

“The only thing you can do is just keep working, keep fighting,” Dunbar said. “It’s a front office decision and you live with it. I did some things well in a few games and I also didn’t do some things well. It’s ebb and flow. Whether it’s right now or later, your time will come.”

Dunbar said he wasn’t surprised when the coaches told him last week that he would figure more prominently in the game plan.

“They’re not going to lose faith in guys,” Dunbar said. “As long as you’re working in practice and getting better, they’re going to give you an opportunity.”

Middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma said Dunbar’s performance was just what he expected.

“The guy comes in, works, watches film,” Vilma said. “Whether he’s playing or not playing, he doesn’t change his attitude, his demeanor, his preparation.


2theadvocate.com | Saints | Mitchell, Dunbar shine for Saints

Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	darrensproyles010111.jpg
Views:	0
Size:	78.3 KB
ID:	2619  

Views: 752
Old 01-01-2011, 10:17 AM   #2
Site Donor 2014
Truth Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Spanish Fort Alabama
Posts: 16,065
I can only guess that Dunbar made some mental mistakes that the coaches thought were bad enough to bring Clark in.

Clark was a solid LB in his day, but its obvious he's lost a step.

Dunbar is a natural MLB so its not surprising that he did well against the run. Dunbar isn't the fastest guy so he has to make up for it with mental quickness, no wasted steps.

Sometimes a guy like him tries to think too much, and that slight hesitation is the difference between a tackle at the line, and a big gainer as he arrives a 1/2 second too late.

A perfect example is Ray Lewis. Ray timed slow at the combine, but his reaction time and flow to the ball (no wasted steps or hesitation) are second to none in this league.

Players like Dunbar have to be nearly perfect mentally, or their mediocre speed will be exploited.
Danno is offline  
Old 01-01-2011, 11:24 AM   #3
1000 Posts +
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Nottinghamshire, UK
Posts: 4,192
Originally Posted by Danno View Post
Dunbar is a natural MLB so its not surprising that he did well against the run. Dunbar isn't the fastest guy so he has to make up for it with mental quickness, no wasted steps.

Sometimes a guy like him tries to think too much, and that slight hesitation is the difference between a tackle at the line, and a big gainer as he arrives a 1/2 second too late.

Players like Dunbar have to be nearly perfect mentally, or their mediocre speed will be exploited.
Agreed, I've heard GW say before that he "hates" players who think too much, he wants his guys to go out there and react to the surroundings, then make the play.
If Dunbar continues to show up like that, i'd be happy if he made the permanant move to OLB, gotta give a ton of credit to the guys upfront, forcing turner to bump it outside and not up the middle, thats where the guys like dunbar can make the plays.
If dunbar keeps playing like that, he will find himself in a starting role.
dizzle88 is online now  
Old 01-01-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
Site Donor
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 516
Blog Entries: 1
Replacing Fujita was not something any of us wanted to do. If Dunbar continues to play like he did against atl and continues to improve, he will be a nice addition. Listen to GW, stop thinking so much!!
niteadept is offline  
Old 01-01-2011, 11:14 PM   #5
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Haven Ct
Posts: 18,463
Very good point about Fujita. Draft need.
QBREES9 is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:43 AM.


Copyright 1997 - 2013 - BlackandGold.com
no new posts