Seeds of change for Saints
METAIRIE — The number of big plays yielded by the New Orleans Saints under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams were plentiful in 2011, to say the very least.
Opponents gashed the Saints for 50 plays of at least 10 running yards and 49 plays of at least 20 passing yards. That does not include another 11 “big’’ passing plays in two playoff games — the most by any team in the postseason, according to NFL.com.
Of those 60 “big’’ passing plays last season, the Saints yielded an NFL-high 17 of at least 40 yards, or nearly one in every three.
“Defensively, we gave up more ‘big plays’ last year than we ever have,’’ Saints acting head coach Joe Vitt said at the conclusion of his team’s Organized Team Activity on Thursday. “We have to get that number on defense down to about 75. Just a little bit more zone defense and not selling the farm is going to give you an opportunity to keep those big (plays) off your back.”
That responsibility — reducing the number of big plays by one-fourth — now belongs to first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who’s using this offseason to plant the seeds of change.
Spagnuolo said he is confident that his 4-3 defensive unit eventually will reap what he sows. But it will take time, the right players and proper schooling to grow his plan.
Three OTAs do not an offseason make.
“I don’t know if I have the personnel part of it figured out quite yet, to be honest with you,’’ Spagnuolo said. “I enjoy these OTAs, but, from a defensive standpoint, it is not real football until you put pads on.
“To assess all of the abilities that we have and what direction we will take, it’s going to take a little while. It is going to take a little while here before, as a staff, we figure out what direction we are going to go. We are going to need some games, some preseason games, some football contact out here during practice, and then, hopefully, we can come up with something that fits best for our guys.”
Seeds of change for Saints | Saints | The Advocate
Ready to see what spags will do for our d-line.... it would be nice to have a D-lineman lead the team n sacks this year....
These are some ugly numbers and after watching this defense last year I knew we were in trouble if some changes were not made. I just hope we made enough changes.
I knew it was bad. but I had no idea.........
I sure hope that those seeds are watered well and nurtured. Oh yeah, eliminate any weeds.
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