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Personnel Misfits - Harper & Smith

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Much has been bandied about in regard to the shift of defensive philosophy for the New Orleans Saints for the 2013 season. Out is vilified defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with his "read-and-react," 4-3-based alignment. In is the mercurial Rob Ryan ...

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Old 08-22-2013, 07:20 AM   #1
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Much has been bandied about in regard to the shift of defensive philosophy for the New Orleans Saints for the 2013 season.

Out is vilified defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with his "read-and-react," 4-3-based alignment. In is the mercurial Rob Ryan with his explosive 3-4-based multiple alignment.

Pundits and fans alike both believe the Saints possess the personnel to execute this complex defense. I wholeheartedly agree. I also have a way for the Saints to maximize their defensive potential. And all it takes is a couple of minor personnel changes.

Fans of the New Orleans Saints must have to break out "Football for Dummies" on a regular basis. The heart and soul of the team lies between head coach Sean Payton and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and their extremely complex and multifaceted offensive sets.

Running a blend of a West Coast offense that relies on short, rhythm-based passes, with a vertical pass scheme that is a threat on any down and distance to go for an explosive play—the Saints possess one of the toughest offensive schemes in all football to wrap your brain around.

The Saints faithful got a break last season when Steve Spagnuolo was brought aboard to coordinate his style of defense. While usually effective, Spagnuolo's defense left much to be desired for fans of the complexities of the technical game.

Running a 4-3 that's based on getting pressure organically through superior defensive line play, like his 2007 coordinated Super Bowl-winning New York Giants unit, the Saints personnel didn't mesh with the once-revered defensive coach's approach the game.

Present day, the Saints may be able to boast having both the most complex offense and defense in the NFL. But as fans of Rob Ryan's scheme can attest, being circuitous in your attack is not always a recipe for success.

I've personally been a fan of Rob Ryan since he coordinated some wildly entertaining defenses in Oakland (circa 2004). I started to follow him because of his work with one of my favorite defensive minds in Bill Belichick and the uber-successful New England Patriots at the initial point in their dynasty.

And, of course, it didn't hurt that his father is famed defensive guru Buddy Ryan of the '85 Chicago Bears fame. But what drew me most to Ryan was the versatility within his scheme. It's an aspect that will fit perfectly with his present-day club, the New Orleans Saints.

I did a piece on Ryan earlier in the summer, speculating on how he would use the Saints given personnel. This piece was done after the draft, so just about every piece he presently has in place.

I came to the conclusion that the most important offseason piece may very well be first-round draft pick safety Kenny Vaccaro. In Ryan's last stop in Dallas, he liked to play his best pass-rushers, regardless of position in clear pass situations. He also loved to get his best defensive backs on the field at the same time, regardless of position with the prerequisite skill being good tackling ability.

The combination of physical veteran safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper would mesh well with Vaccaro's versatility and physicality. While most thought Vaccaro would take Harper's spot at strong safety in the base defense, I had a feeling that might not be the case.

Ryan values veterans who are heady enough to learn his scheme. By all accounts, Harper is one of the most football-intelligent players on the roster. He's also a good tackler when playing in the "muddy waters" also known as the "box."

One thing I didn't take into account was that Ryan would employ Harper to defend the tight end in pass situations.

I wouldn't have suggested this be the way to go, and neither would most people who watch the Saints on a weekly basis. See, this is where Harper is a complete liability, and Saints enthusiasts have always known this. This fact reared its ugly head in the Saints preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Read more: New Orleans Saints Preseason 2013: Personnel Misfits | Bleacher Report

Good read although I think we're mostly agreement here already.

I still believe Will Smith adds value to the D line but he shouldn't be put in at OLB unless he's rushing the passer from the line.

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Last edited by papz; 08-23-2013 at 07:17 PM..
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: Personnel Misfits - Harper & Smith

Smith just needs to be used in a reserve role.........either that or get his walking papers and keep another young buck to develop.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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Re: Personnel Misfits - Harper & Smith

He is paid too much to be a backup
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