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WhoDat!656 02-10-2012 05:01 AM

SaintsNation-Saints most glaring need is a defensive playmaker
 
I think we can all agree that the Saints need to re-sign Drew Brees, Marques Colston and Carl Nicks. All three of those players are key components to the historically supreme offense the Saints showcase and retaining them has to be of utmost importance. That said, for the second consecutive offseason, the biggest "upgrade" the Saints will have to seek is a playmaker on defense that can change the complexion of a game and that can continually force opposing team's offenses to gameplan around him.

This is nothing new. The Saints still haven't recovered from the loss of the 33 year old version of Darren Sharper back in 2009. That's what we're essentially calling for here, a difference maker of that caliber. If this post seems familiar it's because I wrote the exact same thing a year ago. If you read the article I posted 12 months ago, the point in this exact same. And again, I don't really care which position this "playmaker" plays, just as long as he qualifies as a difference maker. Whether it's a ballhawking free safety like Sharper, a shutdown cover corner like Charles Woodson, a sideline to sideline speedy sure tackler like Patrick Willis, or a guy that's always in the quarterback's face like Dwight Freeney - THAT's what will make this defense better. It's just one guy, but those guys are hard to find and they're even harder to land once they're universally identified.


You saw that the Saints jumped from 25th in total defense in Gregg Williams' first season to 4th overall last year. This year, they dropped back down to 24th, but without the turnovers to show for it like the first season. The Saints picked off just 9 passes this year, the same number as 2010. In 2009, they picked off 26 passes and Darren Sharper had 9 of them all on his own. The Saints also generated 33 sacks in 2011, the same number again as 2010. So basically 2010 and 2011 were very similar in some ways, though the 2011 version of the Saints' defense gave up way more yards. About as many yards as the 2009 version, minus the turnovers. I don't care if Gregg Williams had returned, if Steve Spagnuolo is the new defensive coordinator, or if they hired Goofy to run the defense... if you don't have players that can't carry out the gameplan it's not going to matter.

Hey, the Saints tried. You have to give them credit for that. They drafted Johnny Patrick to bolster the backfield. They signed Will Herring to bolster the linebacking core. More importantly, they brought in Turk McBride, Tom Johnson, Cameron Jordan, Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rodgers to bolster the defensive line. Clearly the Saints felt good about their back 7 and felt that fixing the front four would repair things. You can't blame them for trying as they revamped the entire unit, it just didn't work out.

So where does that leave us entering 2012? I contend that it's pretty simple really: invest in one player. The faces haven't been all that different other than one guy - Darren Sharper. The DB's and LB's have been the same. Sure, you can argue there's been a slight drop off in performance from the Scott Shanle's, Jonathan Vilma's and Will Smith's of the world. That's absolutely true. But those guys are still capable players. You can't tell me that Aubrayo Franklin was that much better (or worse) than Remi Ayodele. You can't tell me Jo-Lonn Dunbar is that much better (or worse) than Danny Clark or Scott Fujita. You can't tell me that Cam Jordan is that much better (or worse) than Alex Brown or Charles Grant.

I don't know if Mickey Loomis can make the numbers work to lure a difference maker after the money he pours into Brees, and possibly Colston/Nicks. Maybe the Saints get ridiculously lucky and that guy comes in the form of a rookie 2nd round draft pick. But I know it's what this team needs. And ultimately, that has to be the upgrade the Saints seek if they want to win another Super Bowl. Drew Brees and the offense will score. That's a given. Even if they lose both Colston and Nicks - the Saints still have enough pieces (Sproles, PT, Graham, Moore etc...) to hurt people. It may not be the best offense in NFL history, but it will score points. The question is can they land a defender that forces the opposition to alter what they'd like to do. Right now they don't have that guy, and they haven't had him since 2009 when Darren Sharper helped them win the Super Bowl.

Saints Nation: Saints' Most Glaring Need Is a Defensive Playmaker

saintsfan1976 02-10-2012 07:13 AM

Give us the QB pressure and Jenkins could become that "Sharper"

In fact, given an effective pass rush any of our CB's could have double-digit int seasons.

dizzle88 02-10-2012 08:37 AM

Spags will teach our DE's that their job is to run towards the guy with the football from the snap and hit him to the turf, looks like they don't know what to do at the minute

If we are getting good pressure and the pick opportunities are there and somebody like jenkins keeps dropping them or making wrong reads - then we know theres something wrong with him as our safety.

We get good pressure and undercut the routes, pick 6 baby

pinch 02-10-2012 10:10 AM

On the surface it seems we actually have some good players in the secondary, but almost all of them have a fatal flaw that gets exposed. For one, it seems none of them can catch a football. That is almost a deal-breaker because if your DBs can't generate interceptions then, as Haslett (yes I threw up in my mouth) used to say, "You're on borrowed time".

In addition to generating next to zero turnovers in the secondary, we have guys like Harper who are great against the run, but who can't cover. We've got guys who can cover (sorta), but can't tackle. We play 10 yards off the ball, but give up huge swaths of YAC because of our poor tackling.

I just don't see how we're going to improve significantly on defense without improving our secondary. The inability to generate interceptions is a problem too big to ignore in my book. Unfortunately if you can't catch the ball at the pro-level, then IMO it's not something that can be taught; it's just too late. We have to get some new, ball-hawking personnel in the secondary who can catch and are sound tacklers.

Danno 02-10-2012 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pinch (Post 377200)
On the surface it seems we actually have some good players in the secondary, but almost all of them have a fatal flaw that gets exposed. For one, it seems none of them can catch a football. That is almost a deal-breaker because if your DBs can't generate interceptions then, as Haslett (yes I threw up in my mouth) used to say, "You're on borrowed time".

In addition to generating next to zero turnovers in the secondary, we have guys like Harper who are great against the run, but who can't cover. We've got guys who can cover (sorta), but can't tackle. We play 10 yards off the ball, but give up huge swaths of YAC because of our poor tackling.

I just don't see how we're going to improve significantly on defense without improving our secondary. The inability to generate interceptions is a problem too big to ignore in my book. Unfortunately if you can't catch the ball at the pro-level, then IMO it's not something that can be taught; it's just too late. We have to get some new, ball-hawking personnel in the secondary who can catch and are sound tacklers.


Our secondary does have some potential. Greer has 9 picks in his 8 year career, 5 years of which he was a back-up. He has 3 picks as a Saint.
Robinson has 4 picks is basically 1-1/2 years of playing CB
Porter has 7 picks since he's been here
Jenkins had 3 picks his 1st two seasons, 1/2 of which as a back-up.
Patrick had 5 picks his senior year so he looks like he might be hawkish.

I think 2011 was more the exception than the rule. We certainly don't have 4 Sharpers back there, but I don't think we're as bad as 2011 looked.

dizzle88 02-10-2012 12:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 377204)
Our secondary does have some potential. Greer has 9 picks in his 8 year career, 5 years of which he was a back-up. He has 3 picks as a Saint.
Robinson has 4 picks is basically 1-1/2 years of playing CB
Porter has 7 picks since he's been here
Jenkins had 3 picks his 1st two seasons, 1/2 of which as a back-up.
Patrick had 5 picks his senior year so he looks like he might be hawkish.

I think 2011 was more the exception than the rule. We certainly don't have 4 Sharpers back there, but I don't think we're as bad as 2011 looked.

wow looking at those stats really makes it noticeable that we couldn't hang onto an interception all year.

Besides greer (because opponents dont throw at him often because he has great coverage skills) most DB's would get more picks in a season than ours have in a career so far.

Robinson will only get better, he did a good job getting his hands on the ball when it came to him. I'm looking forward to see what Johnny patrick can do, Jenkins needs to impress alot of people with some big plays (picks etc)

halloween 65 02-10-2012 12:48 PM

The one I want to see more of is Quaddus, I think we got something in that thumper.

Marlboro Man 02-13-2012 07:50 AM

I'd love to see Quddus at FS and Jenkins at SS. Also, I just don't see why everyone thinks PR is this great CB. The INT's he got this year were poorly thrown passes, not picked because PR made a play on the ball. PR is always giving too much cushion, and his MO is, Pass, catch, tackle sometimes but only after the 1st down or TD. He rarely gets his head turned around and defends a pass which gets us a lot of PI calls too. A lot of people want to throw stats around and it's still today like it always has been, stats are for losers. You watch that 9er game from last year. You know why they got those TOs? You watch them kick, fight and scratch for them on every play, during every play and even after the play, just like we used to do in 2009. Our defense hasn't played like that since. I hope Spags gets on our D-Line coaches arse about the pathetic play of our d- line too.

dizzle88 02-13-2012 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marlboro Man (Post 377781)
I'd love to see Quddus at FS and Jenkins at SS. Also, I just don't see why everyone thinks PR is this great CB. The INT's he got this year were poorly thrown passes, not picked because PR made a play on the ball. PR is always giving too much cushion, and his MO is, Pass, catch, tackle sometimes but only after the 1st down or TD. He rarely gets his head turned around and defends a pass which gets us a lot of PI calls too. A lot of people want to throw stats around and it's still today like it always has been, stats are for losers. You watch that 9er game from last year. You know why they got those TOs? You watch them kick, fight and scratch for them on every play, during every play and even after the play, just like we used to do in 2009. Our defense hasn't played like that since. I hope Spags gets on our D-Line coaches arse about the pathetic play of our d- line too.

The reason for the cushion P Rob gave was due to shoddy coaching from GW, all our corners did the same. With some proper coaching from our new DB coach they could all excel.

I agree that some of his picks came on poorly thrown passes but atleast he caught them, everybody else in the backfield got the same opportunity for an easy pick and they all dropped the ball (porter, Harper and jenkins all had easy pick opportunities) Robinson was the only one who made the most of the chance

Rugby Saint II 02-13-2012 01:21 PM

Hopefully, one of these D coaches knows how to tackle. That alone would help tremendously.


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