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SmashMouth 08-10-2012 08:39 AM

New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
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Repeat after me: "It's only preseason. It's only preseason. It's only preseason."



http://media.nola.com/tpphotos/photo...6356-large.jpg
New Orleans Saints defensive ends Will Smith (91) and Cameron Jordan (94) sack New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12), causing him to fumble during the preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Thursday, August 9, 2012.
Yes, the New Orleans Saints defense has looked downright dominant in two exhibition performances so far. Yes, the linebackers are actually making plays and tackling ball carriers instead of each other. And, yes, new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's approval rating is higher than Gabby Douglas' right now along the Gulf Coast.

But before we start christening this unit the Dome Patrol II, let's take a deep breath and remember one thing: They call these contests exhibitions for a reason. It'd be wise to bridle the enthusiasm until the Saints do it in the real season rather than this glorified rehearsal period.

Still, Debbie Downer-talk notwithstanding, you have to like what you've seen so far from the Saints new-look defense. Especially what we saw in its shutdown performance of the New England Patriots on Thursday night.

This was supposed to be an offensive shootout between cover-boy quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tom Brady. But the Saints' defense refused to be cast as supporting actors. Heretofore unheralded defenders like Junior Galette, Martez Wilson and Akiem Hicks upstaged the high-profile QBs and turned the anticipated aerial circus into a good old-fashioned defensive slugfest instead, which the Patriots won 7-6.

This looked more like LSU-Alabama than Saints-Patriots. Indeed, the Red Sox-Rangers game Brees and about a dozen Saints attended Wednesday was higher scoring than this contest.

"The first-team defense has really come a long way in a week," Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said. "We're happy so far in how we're coming along."

Saints fans have dreamed about this kind of effort since the widely respected Spagnuolo was hired in February to coordinate the unit. They know if Spags can squeeze just a smidgen of improvement out of the defense the Saints, with their unrivaled array of offensive weaponry, will have a terrific chance to become the first team to play the Super Bowl on its home field.

So far, so good. Spagnuolo's system seems to have breathed new life into the much-maligned line and linebacker corps.


Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune
New Orleans Saints strong safety Corey White (24) knocks a deep pass away from New England Patriots wide receiver Jesse Holley (16) during the preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on Thursday, August 9, 2012.
Just as they did against the Cardinals, athletic young linemen Galette, Jordan, Wilson and Hicks consistently beat their men in head-to-head battles along the front lines. True, they were operating against an injury-riddled Patriots offensive line but the effort was impressive nonetheless. If the Saints can manage to get this kind of consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks during the regular season they'll undoubtedly make more big plays and produce more turnovers.

It's certainly been the recipe for success so far. In about three quarters of exhibition football, the first-team defense has forced three turnovers, harassed the quarterback consistently and allowed just one score.

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Danno 08-10-2012 08:43 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
Yes, I know its only pre-season, but its blatently obvious that our D-line looks much improved over what we saw last year.

SmashMouth 08-10-2012 09:10 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 426087)
Yes, I know its only pre-season, but its blatently obvious that our D-line looks much improved over what we saw last year.

On the highlights, they praised T Walker (number 75) for great pressure which caused the interception thrown by Mallet. Might we have yet another gem?

halloween 65 08-10-2012 09:40 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
Great read, thanks!! So far sounds promising.

Rugby Saint II 08-10-2012 05:12 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
I was thinking Walker might make it to the practice squad.......if he made the final 53 I would be pleasantly surprised.

Boutte 08-10-2012 05:30 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
Swanson Miller is still in there battling too. I kinda miss Momma's Boy.

homerj07 08-12-2012 07:42 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense is giving fans reason for optimism this preseason
 
Fingers crossed


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