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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; What can Brown do for them? Shortsighted Saints miss a chance to improve "D" By Ken Bikoff (kbikoff@pfwmedia.com) April 29, 2005 It isn’t difficult to figure out why the Saints have been treading water for the last four seasons. Defense ...

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Old 04-29-2005, 10:45 AM   #1
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interesting article from PFW

What can Brown do for them?


Shortsighted Saints miss a chance to improve "D"
By Ken Bikoff (kbikoff@pfwmedia.com)
April 29, 2005





It isn’t difficult to figure out why the Saints have been treading water for the last four seasons.

Defense wins championships, and the Saints don’t bother to play much of it.

They finished 32nd — that’s dead last to you and me — in the NFL in total defense last season. They were 30th vs. the run. They were 27th vs. the pass. They were 28th in points allowed. They were 29th in yards allowed per play.

I think you get the picture.

The thinking heading into draft weekend was that the Saints were going to look for defense. They needed a defensive tackle who could slow down the run. They needed better speed from their outside linebackers. They needed a physical safety who could be the anchor of the secondary for years to come.

So, naturally, the Saints used three of their first five draft picks on offensive players.

They actually traded up from the No. 16 spot to the No. 13 position to select Oklahoma OT Jammal Brown, who the team hopes will step into the starting lineup on the right side. New Orleans suspected that the Panthers, the Saints’ division rivals who were on the clock at No. 14, would snatch Brown away, and head coach Jim Haslett and general manager Mickey Loomis wanted to make sure they got their man.

A call to the Texans and a third-round pick in 2006 later, the Saints moved up. The selection of Brown should solidify the team’s running game for years to come.

Nevermind that RB Deuce McAllister has been a 1,000-yard lock without Brown for each of the last three years and he has gained 1,367.7 Brown-free yards per year in that span. Forget about the fact that he has never gained fewer than 4.0 yards per carry or that he ran for 1,074 yards in 14 games last season. And please, ignore that WR Joe Horn tied for the NFC lead in receptions with 94 or that he was second in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,399.
Clearly, offense was a huge need for the Saints.

Oh, by the way, the next four players off the board were OLB-S Thomas Davis (Panthers), OLB Derrick Johnson (Chiefs), DT Travis Johnson (Texans) and OLB-DE David Pollack (Bengals). Did I mention that the Saints could have used help at each of those positions?

Haslett and Loomis decided that the two deepest positions in the draft, defensive end and cornerback, weren’t big needs for the team because they are stocked in those areas. I’ll agree with them on that. The Saints feature two of the better pass-rushing defensive ends in the business in Charles Grant and Darren Howard. But that doesn’t mean more defensive needs could have been filled.

If this frustrates me, I can’t imagine what it is like to be a Saints fan.

The Saints did go with defense in the second and third rounds, selecting Nebraska S Josh Bullocks, who is known more for his athleticism than his hitting, and Connecticut LB Alfred Fincher, who is expected to be a special-teams guy, although some in the Saints’ organization believe he can be a sleeper. Then, it was right back to the offensive side of the ball, with the Saints selecting California WR Chase Lyman in the fourth round and former Florida State QB Adrian McPherson — he of the myriad off-the-field problems — in the fifth round. Wisconsin DT Jason Jefferson and Arizona State DE Jimmy Verdon, who projects to defensive tackle, rounded out the draft.

All told, the Saints selected three offensive players (a decent right tackle, an injury-prone possession receiver and a project quarterback) and four defensive players in their draft.

Let me just say at this point that I certainly hope for the sake of Saints fans that these picks work out. I hope McPherson is the next Randall Cunningham. I hope Lyman evokes thoughts of Ricky Proehl. I hope Brown is a dominant player for years to come. Lord knows Saints fans deserve it. But it makes my spine shiver when I hear Loomis explain why defense dropped down the list of priorities in the first round.

"I agree (with conventional wisdom), the ranking from last year speaks for itself," Loomis told reporters. "But there are other factors. We did feel like the defense played better at the end of the season, and we have some young guys that we feel good about."

The Saints finished last season with four straight wins and allowed 18 or fewer points in each of those games. But three of those wins came vs. non-playoff teams, and in the one game vs. a playoff squad, the Falcons rested QB Michael Vick and TE Alge Crumpler after clinching the division title a week earlier.
The excitement about how the team finished the season seems a bit shortsighted. Previous to those four wins, the Saints had allowed 30 or more points in five of nine games. They gave up 20 or more in the first 12 games of the season. Sure, the Saints rallied in December to nearly earn a playoff berth, but the simple fact is the team missed the playoffs yet again.

During the offseason, the team has done little to improve the defense. Dwight Smith was signed away from the Buccaneers to become the starting free safety, but other than that, former Cardinals LB Levar Fisher was the only other free-agent addition that could be called a key piece. Defensive coordinator Rick Venturi was retained, and the Saints’ attitude seems to be that all the parts are in place, they just need to have more time.

I understand patience, but when a team has such glaring needs and it still goes in another direction, it makes me shudder.

Again, I hope Haslett and Loomis prove me wrong on this one. I hope Venturi works a miracle and the Saints’ defense rounds into shape next season. But I wouldn’t count on it.

The absolute worst thing for a franchise is to be mediocre. If a team is going to be bad, it might as well be awful because there is more talent at the top of the draft. Striving to be the best is the goal of every team, but spinning its wheels is a bad situation for any franchise to be in.
The Saints currently are kicking up so much tire smoke that John Force is jealous.

"Honestly, after finishing 32nd on defense, you could make a case for all seven players (being drafted going toward defense)," Saints director of player personnel Rick Mueller said. "If you do that, you pass on lots of good players. You want guys that are going to be on your roster at some point, so if you look only at one side you bypass a lot of good football players and hurt your team."

There’s no question that the Saints got a very good player in Jammal Brown. The problem is that he likely won’t help New Orleans finally gain some traction and head down the path toward a championship.
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Old 04-29-2005, 10:51 AM   #2
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interesting article from PFW

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Old 04-29-2005, 11:04 AM   #3
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If this frustrates me, I can’t imagine what it is like to be a Saints fan.
Amen brother.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:11 AM   #4
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interesting article from PFW

What games was he watching last year... so what Deuce got 1000 yards, we had a horrible line last year and we need to shore that up! No protection for Brooks, Deuce should be nearing 2000 yards. With a back like him we should/need to use him to every bit of his ability and that means BLOCKING to its finest. I like the Brown pick and felt we should have gone after a OL in round one from the begining. Defensively, if they actually step up and coaching comes around. we will be fine with some more additions but where we were sitting I think the Saints did the right thing in round one.

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Old 04-29-2005, 11:25 AM   #5
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interesting article from PFW

S Josh Bullocks, who is known more for his athleticism than his hitting,
This irritates me. I\'ve never heard heard anyone say \"he\'s known for his atheleticism\". All NFL prospects are atheletic. Kind of makes the whole article less realistic and more bias to me.

Bullocks is a ball-hawk, who is better versus the pass than he is the run. Bullocks plays the pass great, plays the run about average. He was the 2nd rated safety in the draft. But I guess you gotta spin it to cause controversy. I don\'t know why they have to do that, most of the article was good.

and Connecticut LB Alfred Fincher, who is expected to be a special-teams guy, although some in the Saints’ organization believe he can be a sleeper.
I shouldn\'t even point out the ignorance in this statement.
Many scouts and team officiasl think he can be something special. But I guess he\'s gotta make it look like the whole league thought this guy was crap, except the stupid ole Saints.

Its a shame. Eighty percent of the article was dead-on. But this type of slanting really irritates me. Like this...

All told, the Saints selected three offensive players (a decent right tackle, an injury-prone possession receiver and a project quarterback) and four defensive players in their draft.
Uhh, Decent RT? They picked the BEST RT in the draft hands down and I know of no one who disagrees with that.

Project QB? Aren\'t all QB\'s drafted after the 2nd round pretty much projects? This kid is a bit more than some 5th round QB project though.

Good article, other than the unnecessary slants.

[Edited on 29/4/2005 by Danno]

'Tolerance And Apathy Are The Last Virtues Of A Dying Society'
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:29 AM   #6
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interesting article from PFW

I don\'t like when folks try to convince me that we suck and we\'re always going to suck as long as Haslett and co. are here.

But, I can understand why folks feel that way!

Haslett and Loomis go into every offseason talking about how our defense is going to improve. They talk about how the current players just need to \"gel\". They talk about how current players just needed more time in the system. They\'ve told us how much they believed in Orlando Ruff. They\'ve told us how much Tebucky Jones was going to help the secondary.

But, the bottom line is that our defense has actually gotten worse each year!

And here we go again! The current players just need to step up. The last 4-games proved our defense isn\'t that far away.

You know how much of that I really believe? Not much!!

However, I\'m not going to sit here and say we\'re gonna have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Even though we could.

Because the defense did show some REAL improvement over the last 4-games. But I have to see more before I\'m convinced.

And for the 1st time EVER, I think we have a solid secondary.

But ... we\'ve still got the same ol\' questions on defense !!!

Are ANY of our linebackers able to do their job effectively?

Can our defensive tackles do their job?

For me, it all comes down to our Defensive Tackles and our Linebackers.

1. Courtney Watson
2. James Allen
3. Colby Bockwoldt
4. Jonathan Sullivan
5. Brian Young

That\'s \"half\" of the defense that are HUGE question marks. It\'s not exactly a ringing endorsement that our defense is going to be what we need them to be.

We\'ve got 5-positions on defense that are HUGE risks.

The only way I see our defense making a huge leap is if Albert Fincher and Jonathan Sullivan step up.

And that\'s asking a lot.

But, we\'ll see.

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Old 04-29-2005, 11:39 AM   #7
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Bullocks is a ball-hawk, who is better versus the pass than he is the run. Bullocks plays the pass great, plays the run about average. He was the 2nd rated safety in the draft. But I guess you gotta spin it to cause controversy. I don\'t know why they have to do that, most of the article was good
\\
I\'ve actually read that he\'s not that bad versus the run either..it\'s just that he\'s better versus the pass.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:42 AM   #8
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1. Courtney Watson
2. James Allen
3. Colby Bockwoldt
4. Jonathan Sullivan
5. Brian Young

That\'s \"half\" of the defense that are HUGE question marks.
Not exactly HUGE. But you did get one right.
1. Courtney Watson Not much of a Question mark. Looks at worst pretty decent, at best a solid player.

2. James Allen. Question mark yes, HUGE question mark? OK I guess. I\'ll give you that one.

3. Colby Bockwoldt. We officially have 9 WLB\'s on the roster, and 2 MLB\'s that can swing over. Colby may be a questionmark, but that position isn\'t. I wouldn\'t call it a HUGE question mark though. Maybe just a concern.

4. Jonathan Sullivan HUGE question mark. And I mean HUGE!!!!! But we have 4 guys who may replace him anyway. Bryant, Leisle, Green, or even Jefferson. But its probably the biggest questionmark on this team.

5. Brian Young. Why is he even on this list? He\'s probably the farthest thing from a questionmark I can think of.

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Old 04-29-2005, 11:42 AM   #9
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I like it too. 1000 yds aint nothing no more. 1500 to 2000 is the new mark for the top RB\'s. Improving the O should help the D. Maybe we can run the ball more , control the clock more. This would let the D rest a little more insted of having to stay on the field the whole 1st half. Our O-line really sucked last year, and i think it was a problem that needed fixing.
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Old 04-29-2005, 11:46 AM   #10
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Bullocks
\\
I\'ve actually read that he\'s not that bad versus the run either..it\'s just that he\'s better versus the pass.
Exactly my point.
If a player is good versus the run, but excellent versus the pass, you can bet your last dollar some Saints reporter will write, \"the Saints draft a guy who can\'t tackle\"

I\'m so sick of that carp.
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