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GumboBC 08-21-2004 07:45 AM

Run Defense. Haslett experiment # 5
If the Saints are to have any chance at being a playoff team, the defense must be able to stop the run. Last year the Saints defense allowed an alarming 4.7 yards per carry. Most of the damage was done right up the gut of the defensive line where Jonathan Sullivan resides.

Sullivan had a less than spectacular rookie season and simply didn't make many plays. This year Sullivan needs to become more active and disrupt things in the opposing team's backfield. When you're selected with the 6th overall pick, and you're a defensive tackle, you are suppose to be disruptive. If Sullivan can live up to that billing, it will go a long ways to making the defensive line respectable.

Joining Sullivan this year at the other DT position is Brian Young. Young is not a household name or a guy that's going to "wow" you with his athletic ability. But he is a guy that's going to bring it every down. Which wasn't the case with Grady Jackson last year. Grady simply got wore down and took too many plays off last year. Which led to teams having a lot of success runing the ball late in the game. Having Brian Young should pay divdends in the 4th quarter when the defense needs to get the other teams offense off the field.

Of course, the defensive tackles are only the 1st line of defense in stopping the run. The MLB must also come up and stuff the run. Last year the Saints inserted Orlando Ruff in at MLB about mid-way through the season in hopes he could be a difference maker. But, Ruff simply did not get in on enough plays. He was either too slow or too late to the point of attack.

This offseason the Saints drafted MLB Courtney Watson and hope they have found their man. After 4-years of less than stellar play from ANY of the linebackers, I'm sure Saints' fans hope he is the answer too!! Courtney brings more speed and athletcism than any MLB the Saints have had in Haslett's tenure. Except for maybe Cie Grant. But injuries have kept him from showing what he can do. Watson needs to live up to his billing if the Saints defense doesn't want to see runningbacks in their secondary!!

In the 1st preseson game against the Jets, the middle of the defense did a pretty good job of stuffing the run. However, Curtis Martin and co. found too much success on the outside. Too often the DE's, Howard and Grant, were rusing too hard and not sealing the outside. When that happend the linebackers were not in position to make the tackle. Sedrick Hodge, James Allen, and Derrick Rodgers need to diagnose the plays better and come up and force the play back to the inside. If they can't do this, the seconday will once again lead the defense in tackles.

Tonight will be a very good test to see if any progress has been made in those departments. The starters should play the entire 1st half. Turning this run defense around is going to be a work in progress. Let's hope that progress comes quickly and some of the new faces truly make a difference.

no_cloning 08-21-2004 09:34 AM

Run Defense. Haslett experiment # 5

If the Saints are to have any chance at being a playoff team, the defense must be able to stop the run. Last year the Saints defense allowed an alarming 4.7 yards per carry.
Only 4 teams were worse in YPC last year: St. Louis (12-4), Cincinnati (8-8), Minnesota (9-7) and Kansas City (13-3). It just makes it harder. Run defense will still be a problem this year, but the Saints will reach the play-offs in spite of it.


This year Sullivan needs to become more active and disrupt things in the opposing team\'s backfield. When you\'re selected with the 6th overall pick, and you\'re a defensive tackle, you are suppose to be disruptive.
Sounds nice. Unless you already have enough \"disruptive\" players on the line and you are the one who\'s counted on to clog the running lanes. If he consistently does that I won\'t care about his stats. Forcing RBs to turn left or right into the waiting arms of a DE. Just please no more of those runs right up the soft gut, I can\'t take another season of that.

CheramieIII 08-21-2004 10:58 AM

Run Defense. Haslett experiment # 5
They did\'nt run up the middle on us the first game and it won\'t happen again tonight. Like Gumbo said, we need to worry about sealing the outside and the DE\'s and LB\'s need to recognize these play\'s. I don\'t care how good the interior lineman are, if the RB\'s are going the other way then they have done there job.

JKool 08-21-2004 01:55 PM

Run Defense. Haslett experiment # 5
Now, I may have just somked too much crack, but when Sully was brought in I remember that the idea was too get more movement at the interior of the line, to throw off blocking schemes and close lanes. (I.e. Sully was supposed to be Glover and Grady was supposed to be Hand from previous successes). Obviously, Grady didn\'t play his part, but neither did Sully.

This makes me wonder if now Sully is supposed to be Hand and Young is supposed to be Glover. If that is the idea, then I wonder if Sully will ever be worth what he cost? That is, if we brought him in for one thing, but he can\'t do that, and now we are asking him to do something else - why would we think he\'ll be good at that?

I guess, the heart of my concern is that if our coaches intend to have the style of line attack that we had with Hand and Glover, then we don\'t have the personnel for it. Especially with K. Smith injured.

With our LBs being all question marks this year, we may be in trouble.

D_it_up 08-21-2004 02:27 PM

Run Defense. Haslett experiment # 5
Notice anything about those 4 teams that had a worse YPC average than the Saints? Two of them were playoff teams, one was a dramatic last second touchdown pass from winning their division and making the playoffs, and the latter was also in contention for playoffs until the last few weeks of the season. Most of the damage done to the Saints was early on in the season when injuries plagued them. When most were back healty, the run defense wasn\'t much better, but their pass defense improved. Still no run defense. I guess the point I\'m trying to make is that each team listed, including the Saints, that had a 4.7 YPC average against their defense were AT LEAST 8-8 and in playoff contention. Just goes to show that a lesser defense may not mean that you\'ll be a really bad team, but proves that you need that defense to take you to the next level....i.e. Kansas City

no_cloning 08-21-2004 03:31 PM

Run Defense. Haslett experiment # 5
When Sully was drafted Haslett said on draft day he would play the nose tackle position, which had a few of us scratching our heads as we already had a nose tackle in Grady Jackson, no real front runner for the 3 technique spot and a 313-pound DT seemed a natural fit there. But he was originally brought in to be Jackson\'s replacement.
Note that I\'m not convinced he\'ll get the job done at NT, but I sure hope so.

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