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papz 08-11-2012 10:29 AM

PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
1) Replacing Vilma

A lot has been made about linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s season-long suspension, but here at PFF, we’ve been touting the upgrade at middle linebacker with the signing of Curtis Lofton. His skills were on display as he picked up three stops, two of which came against the run. Lofton showed his speed and instincts before laying a big hit on Ridley for a two-yard gain and later displayed his agility in avoiding a second-level block for another stop. Along with the signing of DT Brodrick Bunkley up front, the Saints appear to have some pieces in place to shore up the middle of their run defense.

2) Akiem Hicks

The Saints first draft pick didn’t come until the third round, as they plucked DT Akiem Hicks out of Canada. Hicks was expected to take time to develop, but he showed some impressive ability in this game. He blew past center Ryan Wendell to force a run outside for a loss and later did the same while making the tackle himself. His first step quickness was too much in the passing game as well, as Hicks mixed in a hurry and a hit, the second of which led to an interception from QB Ryan Mallett. When he couldn’t get to the QB, he showed good awareness by batting a pass as well. It was an impressive game for the third-rounder who may see the field earlier than expected, particularly in a pass rushing role.

3) Junior Galette and Martez Wilson

As mentioned, Galette made life miserable for Cannon. Just as he did last season, he showed impressive quickness around the edge and he should be called upon to provide even more of a pass rush this season. Increased snaps are a must for Galette, particularly on a team that was very inconsistent off the edge in 2011. Because of last year’s woes, Wilson has tried his hand at DE and he has fared well in two preseason games. He showed well as a blitzer last year and in this game he looked like he has been expanding his repertoire on the way to the QB. As the Saints defense moves from Gregg Williams’ aggressive, all-out-blitz style to Steve Spagnuolo’s reliance on the four-man rush, players like Galette and Wilson will be crucial to make sure the transition is a successful one.

First Impressions: Saints vs. Patriots | ProFootballFocus.com

Vrillon82 08-11-2012 10:35 AM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
We knew the potential in these guys like Ellis, Wilson, Galette, Jordan, many other defensive guys, Gregg Williams never got to the point of tapping that potential.

Spags will, with Spags, you beginning to see a real loaded Defense all of a sudden, one you never saw under Williams OR Gary Gibbs. You beginning to see guys making plays that normally dont make plays.

halloween 65 08-11-2012 11:12 AM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
4 full quarters of D is what I want. I'm thinking by game 5 when the dust settles we may have something special. Jenkins will be the key in the secondary, that scares me. I like our lb.'s and the front 4 is shaping up nicely.

Vrillon82 08-11-2012 11:24 AM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
what I wonder is what are they doing with Roman Harper?

Is he even going to be a starter?

|Mitch| 08-11-2012 11:46 AM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vrillon82 (Post 426779)
what I wonder is what are they doing with Roman Harper?

Is he even going to be a starter?

Harper looked decent in coverage the first game, don't remember what he did against the Pats though

Utah_Saint 08-11-2012 12:23 PM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
I like the Profootball guys. They look at things the normal fan my not notice.

Thanks for posting Papz.

I hope we get to see Hicks playing against 1s in the next couple games. If he can bull rush those guys, it will be a huge piece in Spag's plans of 4 man pressure.

papz 08-11-2012 12:32 PM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
They certainly put in a lot of work with their analysis. They will chart every single snap when analyzing a player.

spkb25 08-11-2012 03:39 PM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
Getting my first chance to watch the game right now, and someone had mentioned how good J.Patrick looks. Agree- on the one play I thought it was Greer. Second thing- Lofton has speed and takes great angles.

AlaskaSaints 08-11-2012 03:55 PM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
If we get beyond the Packers game without a LOSS, we'll be on our way to the Superbowl. Bet on that.

Alaska

dizzle88 08-11-2012 04:20 PM

Re: PFF: First Impressions: Saints @ Patriots
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by spkb25 (Post 426840)
Getting my first chance to watch the game right now, and someone had mentioned how good J.Patrick looks. Agree- on the one play I thought it was Greer. Second thing- Lofton has speed and takes great angles.

And he's a bigger version of Vilma and hits like a truck

Vilma was a great player for us, but always had to rely on speed rather than power because he's a little undersized for the position


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