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Have we improved??? Defense

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Defensive line- Last year was bad with Darren Howard getting hurt 7 minutes into the season, Gravy Jackson balooning up like 4 day old road-kill, Jonathan Sullivan being a rookie (and an early entry at that), and having to start ...

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Old 08-12-2004, 01:34 PM   #1
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Have we improved??? Defense

Defensive line- Last year was bad with Darren Howard getting hurt 7 minutes into the season, Gravy Jackson balooning up like 4 day old road-kill, Jonathan Sullivan being a rookie (and an early entry at that), and having to start 8 different D-lineman over the course of the season.

Hopefully this year, barring catostophic injuries we'll have twice the talent along that line.
RDE-Charles Grant, looks to be closing the gap on Howard as our best DE
LDE-Darren Howard, Stud DE, no question
IDT-Jonathan Sullivan (or Howard Green/Rodney Leisle/Kendrick Allen) Despite his offseason weighgain he is busting his tail every day in practice. He should be much better than last year.
Howard Green has been impressive and took the off-season as seriously as we all hoped Sully would have.
Leisle looks like a solid addition for stopping the run. While he may not possess pass rush dominance, he doesn't really need to with Howard, Grant, Smith, and Sully around him.
ODT-Bryan Young, the more I hear about this guy the more I like him. Fouth Quarter rolls around and this guy will still be at 100 MPH.

Linebackers- I personally feel this is still the weak link, not CB. We all know the negatives so how about some positives...
SLB-James Allen. I think the SLB is a much better fit for this kid (people forget he's only got 2 years experience). He will either push Hodge to step up or step out. I can see Allen getting the start against strong run teams and Hodge get the start against strong pass teams. But not really much change here except both youngsters will have another year of experience.
MLB-Beat to death. All's been said. Probably Watson & Ruff.
WLB-Rodgers is not spectacular but he is solid. The loser of the MLB spot should back him up and spell him well. I'm hoping its Cie Grant and it appears to be heading that way since his continued injury probs are proving he can't play 16 in the middle. But as a platoon with Rodgers the WLB position may become the strength of this unit.

CB-Probably one of the best NFL units that doesn't feature a shut-down CB. Thomas, Craft and Brown will fight it out for 1&2. Ambrose is absolutely horrid. I'd feel more comfy with Craver, Brooks or Tucker ahead of Ambrose at the #2 or #3. Ambrose has slipped to dime-back quality and there really no denying it. If Craver comes back from his ankle and continues to impress I'll feel much better about this unit. I'll be anxious to see if all the talk about Brown is real or just media hype.

FS/SS-Pretty solid unit. I think Harper makes this squad over Gleason though. Harper showed flashes last year and from camp reports he's improved a lot and is playing well. Bellamy holds off Mitchell for one more season, and probably deservedly so. Bellamy answered the bell last year as well as any player I've seen in quite a while, especially after receiving a standing 8 count from Carr juking his jock off.

Overall I think this will be a better defense than last years, but still not close to great. I feel this unit will be inconsistent. One game look absolutely dominant than next game look weak.
Should finish around 10th to 15th, which is a drastic improvement over the last several years.
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Old 08-12-2004, 02:51 PM   #2
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Have we improved??? Defense

I agree with the bulk of what you have to say except for the comments on Ambrose. He\'s a prime example of an aging athlete whose physical talents have drastically slipped but who\'s been enough of a student of the game to compensate. He gets his lunch eaten in one-on-one drills in practices where it\'s strictly athletic ability against athletic ability, then turns around and makes plays in seven-on-seven and game situations by reading and breaking on the routes before the receiver has a chance to separate. Don\'t get me wrong--I\'m not saying he\'s an elite corner or anything...just that he\'s not nearly as bad as most folks say he is.
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Old 08-12-2004, 07:17 PM   #3
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Have we improved??? Defense

I agree MLB has been beat to death and I agree with your pick. I also agree that someone needs to start ahead of Ambrose, probably Craft. I also agree that Harper beats out Gleason. Also, if Bellamy does keep his job it won\'t be a drop off is Mitchell has to play.
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