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Don't overlook New Orleans Saints' young defensive line

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; So far, the most buzz from the New Orleans Saints' offseason practices is being generated by the tweaks to the defensive line. First, it was Martez Wilson's position switch from linebacker to end, then it was veteran end Will Smith ...

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Old 06-04-2012, 10:36 AM   #1
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So far, the most buzz from the New Orleans Saints' offseason practices is being generated by the tweaks to the defensive line. First, it was Martez Wilson's position switch from linebacker to end, then it was veteran end Will Smith being used as a tackle in some formations with four ends on the field at once.

Clearly, new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is willing to get creative in his quest to become more disruptive up front.

"I am a firm believer, and I have been for years learning from one of the best in the league (late former Philadelphia Eagles coordinator Jim Johnson), that you win up front both offensively and defensively," Spagnuolo said. "If you are talking defense, you are talking defensive linemen. Sometimes you have four out there, sometimes you have three out there. In my opinion, you get as many out there as you can.

"They engineer this whole thing."

Those guys up front certainly will determine the fate of the Saints' defense in 2012 and beyond.

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:13 AM   #2
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Great info on McBride. I'm excited to see how he rebounds from last season.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:27 PM   #3
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The Saints' biggest shortcoming over the past two years was an inability to mount a consistent pass rush -- even with former coordinator Gregg Williams using more blitzes than any other team in the league. The Saints tied for 19th in the NFL with 33 sacks last year, and they ranked 31st with 16 takeaways.

And any improvements the Saints make this year will come from scheme and performance instead of personnel changes.

The Saints didn't add any new edge rushers in free agency or the draft, even though Smith is currently slated to miss the first four games as part of the NFL's bounty suspensions.

It's pretty hard to agree with that, since Triplett was wording it in that way to begin with.

Pass rush is not simply about the guys you have on the edges, but also a lot about the guys you have in the interior of the D-line, and that is where there's been quite a lot of personnel turn over from last season.

Adding Bunkley, Ayodele, Hicks, and hopefully a healthy Johnson will surely help out the edge rushers after the trio of Franklin, Rogers and Ellis were unable to really create any significant push from the middle to collapse the pocket.

Also, you can consider Romeus a completely new addition and of course Wilson, if he is in fact moved to DE when all is said and done, so it's not like the front 4 roster hasn't been transformed from last season.

Nevertheless, regardless of that little thing that bothered me, it was a good read and I'm so excited to see this defense take the field, because no matter how good the offense has been for the Saints - I enjoy the defensive side of the game more, and I'd like to see more big plays from the Saints' defensive players. And there's a really good chance this season that my wishes will be fulfilled... but of course I felt the same way last offseason after they brought in Franklin and Rogers.
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:14 AM   #4
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Last year Ellis, Franklin, and Rodgers were good against the run,only!! A 3/4 0n a 4/3 front experiment didn't work at all. I'm curious to see what Ellis can do!! He was drafted high!! I think this years front will be much better than last, the DB's could get some attention. I don't want to be beat by the deep ball.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:50 PM   #5
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We'll be a lot younger when and if they let Ellis go(hopefully via trade). I am very excited about McBride. I had forgotten how good he played last year, brief as it was. We have players on the Dline now that need coaching and can be groomed into winners. Coach Payton has done a great job of getting injured players in the draft like Wilson and Romeus and integrating them into the system. This year we should have a complete turn around with this new look defense.
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