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TheOak 01-05-2014 06:27 PM

Sharper compares Saints defenses
Mike Triplett

PHILADELPHIA -- I ran into former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper after the Saints’ 26-24 playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. And I asked him which defense is better – the Saints’ 2013 version or the 2009 version that Sharper was on when they won the Super Bowl.

“This one’s more stout,” said Sharper, who now works as an analyst for NFL Network. “They don’t make as many big plays, but they’re more stout up front. They’ll play more games like they did tonight. But we’ll blow more teams out because we forced more turnovers and made more big plays.”

Earlier this year, heading into the Saints’ first trip to Seattle, Sharper said he believes the Saints are better built to win on the road than ever before because of their defense.

He wasn’t right on that particular night. But he was eventually proven right when the Saints finally won their first road playoff game in franchise history on Saturday night.

The defense was the main reason the Saints stayed in the game in the first half, trailing only 7-3 after quarterback Drew Brees threw two early interceptions. Then the Saints’ offense finally took over. Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan was again the biggest impact player for the Saints, making several plays behind the line of scrimmage. But he wasn’t alone.

Everyone was outstanding in run defense against dangerous running back LeSean McCoy, who finished with a manageable 77 yards and one touchdown on 21 carries, plus just 15 receiving yards on four receptions.

“With the Eagles having the leading rusher in the league, we needed to stop him. We needed to hold up and get the ball to our offense,” safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “I thought our front line on defense did a great job. When the running back did get through, we were able to not allow him to break big runs. We did not want to have a lot of one-on-one tackles against McCoy.”

Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis was also playing great – holding dangerous receiver DeSean Jackson without a catch deep into the third quarter – until Lewis left with a concussion.

The Eagles started to pick on the Saints’ secondary after that. So obviously the Saints will be much better off if Lewis is able to return to the field this week. There were no updates immediately available on his status, since he’ll obviously have to go through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Darren Sharper compares New Orleans Saints defenses - ESPN

|Mitch| 01-05-2014 06:32 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses
I'm glad that we have a "stout" defense, not based on the flashy big play.

The big plays are not always there...

Danno 01-05-2014 06:37 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses
Yep he nailed it.

2009, Turnover machine, but mediocre otherwise.
2013, Legit dominance, but weak at forcing turnovers.

Lets hope the end result is identical.

WHODATINCA 01-05-2014 06:44 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses
We need to work on takeaways, though.

Teams That Win Turnover Battle Have 72-17 Record

NFL Teams That Win Turnover Battle Have 72-17 Record

boonedocksaint 01-05-2014 07:25 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses
unfortunately, that defense had a nose for the endzone. we still havent had any kind of return this year, defensively or on special teams.

speaking of special teams, anyone else get frustrated that sproles almost always runs right into the teeth of the defense!? if they're trying to set up a wedge up the middle, they suck at it. haha. his best return was when he finally took it outside, that last return.

Audiotom 01-06-2014 08:44 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses
Hard to have turnovers when you are pulling 3 and outs

I focus on ppts per game

hagan714 01-07-2014 01:26 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses
roy boy game planned the secondary perfect. see i can give credit

now to get a four man rush to work

dizzle88 01-07-2014 01:37 PM

Re: Sharper compares Saints defenses

Originally Posted by Audiotom (Post 569962)
Hard to have turnovers when you are pulling 3 and outs

I focus on ppts per game

Exactly, i would love a turnover but im not going to complain about the amount of 3 and outs our D force

We are a more fundamentally sound D this year, dont get me wrong 2009's D was awesome but if we didnt get 2-3 turnovers a game they would tend to struggle

Our D is stout now

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