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New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; It's no secret the New Orleans Saints' defense made a remarkable turnaround from 2012 to 2013 with the arrival of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. But one former NFL scout went so far as to say in the Wall Street Journal ...

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Old 07-31-2014, 05:53 PM   #1
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It's no secret the New Orleans Saints' defense made a remarkable turnaround from 2012 to 2013 with the arrival of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

But one former NFL scout went so far as to say in the Wall Street Journal that the Saints bring "the most fascinating" scheme of the 2014 season into the new year. Read why the Saints' use of three, or as many as four, safeties at a time puts them on the cutting edge defensively.

"I'm always ready to get weird," Ryan said in the article.

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Old 07-31-2014, 06:09 PM   #2
 
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

The private truth about the NFL's defensive coaches is they need a hug and maybe a pillow to cry into. They have been victimized by offenses that have relentlessly innovated their schemes, collected athletic freaks and benefited from rule changes limiting excessive contact.

Last year, NFL defense hit a new low: The 697 total yards earned in an average game was the most in league history. The previous high was set in 2012. And that replaced 2011's mark. You get the picture.

But one team is fighting back. Those inside the league say the New Orleans Saints are quietly crafting an unorthodox defense that could change the game and become the shape of defenses to come.

"I'm always ready to get weird," said Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

The key to this change sounds simple but is a dramatic shift from NFL norms. Basically, the Saints want to play the best 11 players they can find. Size and position are of lesser importance. Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, now an analyst at the NFL Network, calls the Saints' plan "the most fascinating" scheme of the 2014 season.

This isn't the normal lip service about playing the best players. This is a team betting big on the idea of football positions changing, and soon.

The idea was hatched by accident last year, when injuries to linebackers gave Ryan a dilemma: play bad linebackers or get creative with positions. Ryan went the latter route and stressed the safety position, playing as many as four safeties at once and playing three at a time in his default defensive package. In the NFL, some teams play as few as one safety and almost no team ever employs more than two.

Safeties are bigger than cornerbacks, who typically cover wide receivers, but faster than linebackers, who are built to stop a running back and take on offensive linemen. They can be 60 pounds lighter than some linebackers but 20 pounds heavier than some corners. They can cover the insanely athletic crop of tight ends now in the NFL and take on the league's rising group of tall receivers all while giving up only a little bit of speed from a cornerback.



A bonus in Ryan's mad-scientist scheme is that he can position the safety anywhere from 20 yards away from the quarterback to right on the line of scrimmage, rushing the quarterback off the edge.

The idea is clear: Find as many players who can do everything and let them do it.

The result? The Saints improved from last in the NFL in yards allowed in 2012 to fourth last season, Ryan's first with the team. In the months leading up to their training camp in West Virginia, they bet plenty of money that the safety was a big reason.

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Old 07-31-2014, 06:28 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

Byrd, Vacarro, and Bush. Maybe a little Vinnie. I like this. I like this a lot!
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

I see a lot of 4 safety looks: Byrd, Vaccaro, Bush, and Warren... Try to pass on that
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:51 PM   #5
 
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

Originally Posted by rezburna View Post
Byrd, Vacarro, and Bush. Maybe a little Vinnie. I like this. I like this a lot!
And Pierre Warren too?
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:57 PM   #6
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

It's always been pretty common in college. With how the league has shifted to being more passing oriented, it's a great idea. Why have a slow footed OLB that can't cover when you can use a hybrid safety guy in that position who can give you a little bit of everything. John Chavis did a lot of this in Tenessee with Eric Berry in college... among others.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:11 PM   #7
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

Originally Posted by SmashMouth View Post
And Pierre Warren too?
Or how about Mr. Canada ... Ball? I haven't read much on his play thus far.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:18 PM   #8
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

I asked John Deshazier and the other guy from the Saints online broadcasting this question the day before camp opened. I firmly believe those three will be out there a lot.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

Originally Posted by K Major View Post
Or how about Mr. Canada ... Ball? I haven't read much on his play thus far.
Bingo. I fully expected Ball to have an outstanding camp. There is some good talent this year compared to Jenkins and Harper who I liked but the role has changed now.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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Re: New Orleans Saints' 3-safety alignment could be blueprint for future NFL defenses

Great idea.

Its not new since Seattle has been doing it. Look at the way they employ it and I love the idea. You can disguise who you send and from where. drop down a Safety to play LB or even blitz them from outside... because the way Seattle plays them the safeties start out at or near the line of scrimmage.
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