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WhoDat 02-14-2003 04:00 PM

Secondary Help?
In all of the chatter recently, the thing I've heard the most about the Saints D is how bad the secondary is. Is it just me, or is that freakin' nuts?! Yeah they gave up a lot of passing yards but consider this:

A. There was NO pass rush. You're talking about a team that led the league in sacks for three straight years that all of a sudden couldn't buy a sack. Clemons went from 13.5 sacks to 1/2 a sack. We lost Joe Johnson's 9 sacks. We lost La'Roi Glover's 8 sacks. No secondary in the NFL can cover forever. You give an NFL QB five or six seconds and he will complete a pass.

B. Our run defense was terrible. Not statistically, no, butI'll get to that in a minute. Bottom line though, is that our middle was soft. Hand got slapped most games, Clemons is a terrible middle linebacker, and Knight was in the horrible postion of deciding whether to come up and help our hideous run defense, or sit back and worry about our guys getting beat deep.

C. Our offense was good. What does that matter? Well, when you can score 30 points a game, it forces teams to use a pass heavy scheme to stay with you. As a result, we were thrown against far more than we were run against. No matter what, statistically speaking that is going to hurt you. Especially when teams have to run the hurry up more often. The best way to defend a hurry up is usually bend don't break. That adds yards and completions, and helps completion percentages, etc.

D. This might be most important - Venturi. There's no telling what could have been if Zook was still around. Venturi's mistimed blitzes, poor schemes, and bad formation calling no doubt cost big plays and big yards time and again.

On top of all of that, we had suspensions and injuries. Yeah, I can cover better than Hawthorne, and Irvin isn't much better either. BUT, I can't remember the Saints ever having as talented a starting lineup (secondary) as Carter, Thomas, Knight, and Bellamy. If anything, Bellamy is the weak link and you don't hear half as much talk about him as you do about Knight.

Mark my words, if Knight goes somewhere else, he will be a pro bowler again in his career. He's a John Lynch type of safety. A big hitter who isn't a great man-on-man cover guy. Do you think it is a coincidence that Knight flourish behind a front 7 that could stop the run and rush the passer? But all of a sudden when you have one of the worst front sevens in football, his play drops and you're surprised. Give me a break.

Sure the Saints could use another cover corner allowing them to use Thomas and Craver in their nickel and dime packages. But, how can you say that the secondary is worse off than the D-line and linebackers? No way!

lumm0x 02-14-2003 06:35 PM

Secondary Help?
Very good assessment of the situation. I agree we have some positives at corner and they got exposed to the scapegoat with the weak areas at other parts of our defense. Carter will return and Thomas, Craver, Brown and Irvin are keepers. Irvin and Brown simply for depth. I also agree with the comments about Knight and Bellamy. When they chastized Knight for a blown assignment it was usually because he had the choice of assisting in one of two areas and no matter what the choice the result would be the same if they threw the way he didn\'t pick. I am sick of watching Jay Bellamy arm tackle anyone. He can\'t cover, he can\'t tackle and the only thing he seems good at is anticipating a play, yet his lack of ability to cover the man or bring him down makes his instincts useless. At least when Sammy gets the play read he either forces the quarterback to check down or he lays a smack on the ball carrier. Many fans are against Mel Mitchell getting a shot at one of the safety positions but I relish the idea. He has linebacker size with cornerback speed and if the coaches say his grasp is improving lets get him some playing time other than special teams, which he is incredible on.

A name that just came to mind for CB would be Al Harris of the Eagles. I read he wants out of Philly due to the immense depth they have and his lack of playing time. I love this guy.

BigBull45 02-17-2003 04:18 AM

Secondary Help?
My sentiments exactly guys ! As I said on my thread about the defense,I believe if they fix things up front the secondary will be much better.I think if they would run the 3-4,they could add that extra pass rusher with coverage ability,and the ability to help in run situations.That way Sammy would be free to do what Sammy does best, ballhawking!An upgrade at free safety(perhaps Mitchell)would be essential.I\'m not all the way sold on Carter yet.He needs to stay healthy,and prove he can keep his head in the game.The play where he just let Randy Moss run straight down the field uncovered still ticks me off.We should draft one good cover guy early.I\'m telling you to mark my words.If the Saints pay attention to these needs,the turnovers will be there and so will the sacks.

BuffordT 02-17-2003 10:01 AM

Secondary Help?
I think the release of Joe Johnson led to Mueller getting the boot - and now we know why. Glover was a loss, but it was mostly offset by Grant. Johnson was an anchor of the D-line, his loss was a serious blow to this team.
I think Bellamy is definately the weak spot of the secondary. Moving Craver or Hawthorne will be a very nice improvement. Hawthorne never had the skills to play Corner man-on-man - but I think moving him to safety will be a step in the right direction for him. He is a good matchup for TE or a teams 3rd or 4th receiver.
Knight had to play half LB, half safety all year. He needs to be allowed to do what he is good at - ball hawking. The saints need to put an athletic safety next to him, and he will return to his pro bowl play. HE IS NOT THE PROBLEM!

Whew, I feel better. Any word on any TE\'s that we may be looking at? I heard that Boo may get the Boo-T because of his continued inability to block - any word? Plus the HUGE drop against Cincinnati really turned me sour on this guy. He is a serious red zone threat, but if that\'s all he is, what good is he?

PSno23 02-17-2003 10:11 AM

Secondary Help?
I personally think we\'ll see some good things from David Sloan next season. Sure, he had a less than great season last year, but then again, he was in a new system with a new team. Unfortunately, you can\'t expect everything in the first year, that\'s my view at least. His bright spot was his blocking, though. He is a big, tough, and physical guy who will improve this season. Boo Williams is simply too small to be a tight end. His catching skills have always been a question, and I think his key touchdown-missing drops at the end of the season all but cemented that fact that he won\'t be back. We definately need to pick up a quality tight end in the draft to be an understudy to Sloan. Who is available? If only we could\'ve picked up Jeremy Shockey last season...

crapshoot03 02-18-2003 10:10 AM

Secondary Help?
I agree that Sammy Knight was not the problem last year and is somewhat of a scapegoat for the defense.. i love Sammy but with the nfl a passing league now the saints need more speedier safeties.... i think moving keyou craver to safety is brilliant.. and if the saints could sign tebucky jones they would be set at this position... i\'m also curious to see how good mel mitchell really is......

As far as out tight ends go i agree with you PSno i think Sloan will rebound andd have a good year... he did block excellent last year and hopefully his minor knee surgery this offseason will correct that balky knee of his..the onlly thing i disagree with is your comment of boo williams\' catching skills always being a question.. that has always been his strong suit .. and if not for that he would have never been here (or anywhere else) in the fist place...the saints were real high on him because of his hands.. he\'s just never came around and most likely will be gone... the saints should draft a tight end with a middle round pic and there are a few good ones such as bennie joppru , i think he would be a great addition..... comments?

PSno23 02-18-2003 02:17 PM

Secondary Help?
Perhaps you are right concerning Boo Williams. I know he\'s been able to catch balls in the clutch for us, but for some reason I thought his hands were still a question. Maybe it was his size I was thinking about (didn\'t he play WR at Arkansas?). Regardless, I think he\'s gone either way. I really don\'t believe in the whole idea of a TE who can catch but can\'t block and vice versa. I TE, in my opinion, should be able to do both very well, especially throw a good block, and THEN catch the ball. If only Cam Cleeland could have returned to his rookie season form! In the words of Jim Mora, \"woulda, shoulda, coulda.\" I think we\'ll be able to pick up an able TE, however, and I\'m still resting on the fact the Sloan will bounce back.

As for the secondary, moving Keyou Craver I think is a good move, but we definately need somebody for the other corner slot across from Dale. Luckily, the draft seems to be stocked with CBs that could possibly start as a rookie. I\'m looking for the Saints to take one with one of their first round picks. Since our picks are back to back, we don\'t have to worry about addressing a need in any particular order in the first round!

WhoDat 02-19-2003 12:45 PM

Secondary Help?
Glad to see so many people are in agreement... I was out of town for a while and got back and saw all of the posts.... I was expecting another WhoDat/Saintfan debacle, but it looks like everyone is in agreement.

Here\'s my next concern. It looks like Sammy is all but gone. If so, and you expect Mitchell to take his spot, what about the other safety? Do we go with Mitchell and Bellamy? I don\'t care how good this Mitchell kid turns out to be, right now, that\'s a downgrade, not an upgrade. Knight and Mitchell, fine. Mitchell and a veteran free agent, fine. But get rid of Bellamy already.

rodjmaw 02-19-2003 02:44 PM

Secondary Help?
How about pickin up Rodney Harrison.

pakowitz 02-19-2003 03:06 PM

Secondary Help?
i like the idea of pickin up harrison for the vet. min. or near it, and maybe just for one year, with a club option for the 2nd year, he is a good player but i think he has lost a step in coverage and is on his way down, but i think he would go along way in helpin mitchell pan out as a safety

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