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WhoDat!656 05-30-2013 08:44 PM

New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
The New Orleans Saints defense was fun to watch - and hard to keep up with - during Thursday's OTA session. They were installing nickel and dime packages, so new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's versatile 3-4 scheme was on full display.

For most of the time, there were no true defensive tackles on the field, with the field packed with pass rushers and defensive backs. At one point, almost everyone on the defense was standing up, with outside linebacker Will Smith, Junior Galette and Martez Wilson all out on the field together. And on the very first play of team drills, inside linebacker Curtis Lofton shot through the middle for an apparent sack of quarterback Drew Brees (though they aren't going full-contact at this stage of the offseason).

For those wondering about veteran Will Smith's transition from end to outside linebacker, Thursday's practice session was a good demonstration of how he might be used this year. At times, he was lined up on the outside edge. At other times, he had his hand on the ground inside, with another linebacker outside of him.

"There was a couple mistakes out there, so we really looked exotic," Ryan joked, though he said he has been very impressed with how quickly the players are picking things up.

Ryan said it is "absolutely" his philosophy to try and get as many pass rushers on the field as possible.

"I think better coaches than me - I've learned from some really great coaches. And their philosophy always was play the best players, put 'em in the best position to succeed," Ryan said. "That's what I've learned from the Buddy Ryans and Bill Belichicks and Rex Ryan. So I've been fortunate enough to be around good people, and that's how I've established our philosophy."

Defensive line coach Bill Johnson later insisted that the switch from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 scheme is overblown, since the Saints are doing a lot of the same things they did under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009-2011, when their nickel and dime packages included a lot of three-man fronts.

Johnson also said scheme isn't nearly as important as "energy."

"We lost our energy last year," Johnson said. "It's more than Xs and Os. It's making plays, forcing turnovers. Being aggressive."

The "depth chart" was much more difficult to chronicle Thursday because the Saints showed various looks with one dime package and two nickel packages, all of which involved some rotating from snap to snap.

It's worth noting that cornerback Jabari Greer was with the first string all day after he had been with the second string last week. This time, cornerback Keenan Lewis was with the second string, even when the Saints had five defensive backs on the field.

So as Coach Sean Payton insisted last week, it's way too early in the offseason to read anything into the depth chart pecking order as players are rotating in and out of the lineup.

Also, safety Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring) and linebacker David Hawthorne (undisclosed injury) did not participate in team drills Thursday. And end Kenyon Coleman (undisclosed injury) only made a brief appearance late in team drills.

With all of those qualifiers in mind, here's a general look at which players played the MOST snaps with the first and second string Thursday:

FIRST STRING

DL: Cameron Jordan

DL: Tom Johnson

(*DT: Brodrick Bunkley made a brief appearance when the Saints used a DT in the final set of team drills)

OLB: Will Smith

OLB: Martez Wilson

ILB: Curtis Lofton

ILB: Jonathan Vilma

CB: Jabari Greer

CB: Patrick Robinson

CB: Corey White (in nickel; sometimes they used three safeties in dime)

S: split among Roman Harper, Jim Leonhard, Rafael Bush, Kenny Vaccaro

SECOND STRING

DL: Akiem Hicks

DL: split between Tom Johnson, Jay Richardson

OLB: Victor Butler

OLB: Junior Galette

ILB: Chris Chamberlain

ILB: split between Will Herring, Ramon Humber

CB: Keenan Lewis

CB: Corey White

CB: Korey Lindsey

S: split among Roman Harper, Jerico Nelson, Kenny Vaccaro, Isa Abdul-Quddus

New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages | NOLA.com

QBREES9 05-30-2013 08:47 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
Just stop someone !!!! God I hope it works.

TheOak 05-30-2013 09:24 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
Really exotic huh? Lol I like his sense of humor

Beastmode 05-30-2013 10:27 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by TheOak (Post 505630)
Really exotic huh? Lol I like his sense of humor

That's one thing I'm looking forward to this season; a coach with real character. He has already been off roading with a few comments and players respond to that energy.

hagan714 05-31-2013 06:51 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
lmao nothing new to any player that played under williams. they are just doing what they do best. williams was and still is the king of wacked defenses. makes RR job that much easier.

SmashMouth 05-31-2013 08:07 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
What? No 46 defense?

jeanpierre 05-31-2013 08:48 AM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rob Ryan via The Times-Picayune
"I think better coaches than me - I've learned from some really great coaches. And their philosophy always was play the best players, put 'em in the best position to succeed," Ryan said.

We all are consumed with finding out about the formations and personnel...

But if you take nothing else from that article - it's good to know that, like Coach Payton, 'he gets it'...

Rugby Saint II 05-31-2013 08:24 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
I wonder how fast they are really learning?

Utah_Saint 05-31-2013 08:47 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
Compared to last season, just covering somebody would be "exotic".

TheOak 05-31-2013 09:25 PM

Re: New Orleans Saints defense shows some exotic looks in nickel and dime packages
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Utah_Saint (Post 505839)
Compared to last season, just covering somebody would be "exotic".

I'd settle for a trip.


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