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Where to improve on D?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Ok, since we've all decided that the D sucks and needs more attention this offseason, what to do? Where do you think the problems are and what holes do we fill? Here is a minor breakdown of defensive stats. ---------------2004 ...

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Old 02-26-2005, 10:36 AM   #1
xan
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Where to improve on D?

Ok, since we've all decided that the D sucks and needs more attention this offseason, what to do? Where do you think the problems are and what holes do we fill?

Here is a minor breakdown of defensive stats.

---------------2004 Saints Defense Allowed
----------------Rushing---------------Passing
------------Wins-----Losses------Wins------Losses
Game-------121-------167----------237---------252
1st Half------70---------77----------112---------158
2nd Half-----51---------89----------125----------94

As you can see here, the defense was significantly better against the run in wins, however, this is skewed because teams playing from behind usually pass more (and gain more ground per average play). When we were getting spanked in 5 blowout losses, teams ran more in the 2nd half and passed less.

It seems that the real big problem is pass defense in the 1st half. That's where games seem to be decided early. Teams that beat us went downfield early and often. No matter how you slice it, pass defense was terrible. Was this due to bad schemes? was this due to inadequate pass rush? Was this due to deficient athletes?
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:36 AM   #2
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Where to improve on D?

Our rushing defense, IMO, has been a mess for at least three (and probably more) years. We need an interior lineman and a linebacker who is versatile enough to play the pass and stuff the run.

Until recently, I was convinced that we needed a MLB, but now I\'m a bit shakey on that. What we really need is a young Rickey Jackson. A guy who can play up at the line, stick his nose in there, and still get to the flat if necessary. Not only that, since OLBs are often used in the nickle and dime packages (though I favor Watson for the dime backer), the value of a mobile SLB goes up over MLB in my mind.

Since I\'ve only come to this recently, I haven\'t looked to hard at the OLBs availbe (especially the ones who play SLB). It would be interesting to hear preferences from you guys.

Colby is an interesting question, but I think Allen sux. Watson has the tools to play MLB, but I don\'t mind him at OLB and nickel/dime backer. Vetran leadership would be a serious plus at the SLB (or MLB if that is really the best available).

I think our secondary is servicable to good, especially in light of what our pass rush could be if we could finally jam up the middle. Tebucky, Mitchell, and Bellamy are all ok, and Mike McKenzie is everything we wanted at CB; I think Brown can be good. While we lack depth, our starters are fine.

To be honest, I think the chance of our drafting for a DT in the first round is on its way up. Young and Whitehead are both starter quality tackles, but neither is a run stopper. Leisle and Sullivan couldn\'t get on the feild ahead of an undrafted rookie; we\'re hurting here.

"... I was beating them with my eyes the whole game..." - Aaron Brooks :cool:
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:47 AM   #3
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Where to improve on D?

I think it is imperative that the Saints get Derrick Johnson in the first round or at least sign some solid linebackers. Other than Watson, I don\'t think a LB on our roster would even make another team in the NFL.
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:49 AM   #4
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Where to improve on D?

Xan, this quote is from the \"other\" thread like this. I\'m posting it here because people in the other thread are getting to hard to read.

It seems that the real big problem is pass defense in the 1st half. That\'s where games seem to be decided early. Teams that beat us went downfield early and often. No matter how you slice it, pass defense was terrible. Was this due to bad schemes? was this due to inadequate pass rush? Was this due to deficient athletes?
(1) I don\'t think that any game is decided early. Certainly early scores will force your hand some, but as long as the game is within 10 to 14 points at half, you shouldn\'t have to alter your game plan too much. I am prepared to discuss this idea more, but I thought I\'d put it out there. I don\'t think you can lose a game in the first quarter (or even the first half) without really sucking hard (24+ unaswered points)

(2) Over the first four games of the year, it was my impression (based on observation alone) that our pass defense was horrendous. After that, they started to climb. The addition of MM was a serious turn around (once they started playing man and mixed zone anyway).

(3) Pass defense is much harder when the game is close and the other team has established the ability to run. This is because the defense if forced to read and react more often. This is particularly true when corners and the SS are asked to help out against the run - they have to play closer, they bail on their zones sooner, and they are forced to swivel their heads a lot more often. Thus, these are general rules: (a) pass defense will be worse in the first half of games, (b) pass defense will be worse when play actions are a real possibility, and (c) pass defense will be worse when the secondary is asked to make a lot of tackles against the run. Our secondary fits all three rules, so it isn\'t surprising to me that they looked bad. I believe that beefing up our run defense will eliminate (b) and (c), instantly making our secondary better. On top of that, MM\'s coverage skills and toughness against the run allow for a lot more schemes. I think we\'re ok here.

So, I think it was (1) inadequate run defense, (2) schemes, (3) personel (although 2 and 3 are intimately related) and then (3) pass rush (which was also hindered by our poor run defense).

"... I was beating them with my eyes the whole game..." - Aaron Brooks :cool:
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:51 AM   #5
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Where to improve on D?

Gil, welcome aboard. BTW awesome name.

I agree! Without at least one LB, we cannot be much better than we were last year against the run. I\'m not sold on the Johnson option at the moment, but I posted an argument to that effect (that someone else pointed out to me) in another thread.
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Old 02-26-2005, 11:55 AM   #6
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Where to improve on D?

To be honest, I think the chance of our drafting for a DT in the first round is on its way up.
I\'ve been so sick of our linebackers the past few sesaons, I just want to see this area fixed.

However, I think I\'ve let myself become too caught up in the hoop·la surronding the linebacker position.

When buliding a \"house\", it\'s best to start with the foundation before you go trying to put a roof up!

There is NO doubt we are weak at LB. And have been for quite some time!!

But, for as long as we\'ve been weak at LB - We have been just as weak at DT!

Before I go putting my roof (LB) up, I want to bulid a solid foundation (DT)!

Those big DTs aren\'t as \"sexy\" as the Ray Lewis\' of the world, but they are just as effective.

I\'ve always believed that average linebackers can succeed behind a great front 4. I\'m not so sure great linebackers can succeed behind a poor front 4.

I need to keep this in mind when discussing our defense.


[Edited on 26/2/2005 by GumboBC]

[Edited on 26/2/2005 by GumboBC]
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:09 PM   #7
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Where to improve on D?

Look at the difference a player like Jon Vilma made for his team. We need the LBs not only for run support, but to cover the backs and tes. I just dont trust Buckwoldt (sp?) to cover a Warrick Dunn.
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:15 PM   #8
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Where to improve on D?

Look at the difference a player like Jon Vilma made for his team.
Look at the front 4 that was playing in front of Vilma:

Dewayne Robertson, John Abraham, Shaun Ellis, and Jason Ferguson.

The Jets did it the right way. They took care of the front 4 before drafting a LB in the first round.

Taking nothing away from Vilma, but there\'s a right way and a wrong way to build a defense.
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:24 PM   #9
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Where to improve on D?

LInebacker(middle or stong)
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:32 PM   #10
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Where to improve on D?

Hey, picking up a linebacker in free-agency or the draft isn\'t gonna hurt my feelings on bit. It needs to be addressed.

But, so does DT, IMO.
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