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Danno 06-06-2005 07:06 AM



Everyone has their own opinion on which players or groups of players are the best in the NFL, but I can say that if I had a team that had to line up tomorrow, I would want the New Orleans Saints’ defensive ends.

I know that the Saints have some question marks at linebacker and at least one defensive tackle position, but if I lined up for a game tomorrow I would want Charles Grant, Will Smith, Darren Howard and Tony Bryant on my squad. As a tandem you could make a pretty good argument that the Carolina Panther duo of Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers are better than any two Saints defensive end-tandem, but as a foursome this Saints’ unit is as good as it gets.

While the Saints will probably only have Darren Howard on the squad for one more season due to his very high salary figure and the emergence of the young duo of Grant and Smith, Saints fans will really get a treat this season watching these four get after it on the field, provided everyone stays healthy.

If this unit can stay healthy, it should really put up some big numbers in the sack category and provide the secondary with a number of opportunities to make big plays in the interception business. The Saints under Jim Haslett have always been a good pressure-type team in the pass rush category and this season it should be the best it has ever been since 2000 in that category.

Last season the foursome of Saints defensive ends recorded 31 sacks. That is a pretty high number considering the fact that they finished last in overall defense and because the defense as a whole was getting pounded in the running department by other teams early in the season.

If the Saints offense can steal a page from what the Carolina Panthers did in 2003 and what the Atlanta Falcons did in 2004 (control the clock with a strong running game and get points on the board quickly) it could turn out to be a very interesting season for a defense that loves to put pressure on the quarterback.

I have to be honest, for the first time since the 2001 offseason I am going to predict that the Saints will have a winning season and make the playoffs in 2005.

No, it’s not April Fools Day, either.

For a link to this article, click here: Mike D. .
I know Bryant's listed at 285, thats probably his listed weight when he was with the Raiders. The dude's 6'-6" and built thick and solid. I looked at the last 4 games last year and I'll bet he's a lot closer to 300 than he is 285.

I think he's gonna play an important role in that DE/DT rotation. I think he's a better fit sliding inside than Darren Howard. I view him as a younger Willie Whitehead, only a little bigger and with much more upside

saintswhodi 06-06-2005 08:49 AM

I don't think many can argue they are the best 4. Our rotation will be deep. While 3 and a stud DT would be a better combo, we get Howard at DT on obvious passing downs(even though he doesn't like it), and have he, turnover machine Smith, and Grant on the field at the same time. They should make some hay this year IF we can stop the run somehow. Should be fun.

papz 06-06-2005 09:02 AM

With 3 Probowl caliber talent at DE, I don't think anyone can argue with that no matter who the 4th DE is. At 6'6 and around 300, they should give Bryant a chance to start inside along Green. They would make a bigger combination to clog up the middle. It would give the quarterback a hell of a time getting the ball down the middle of the field with his big ole arms waving in the air. I love having Brian Young on our team and all, but the guy does not command a double team and is rarely in the back field. We need to get bigger.

Tobias-Reiper 06-06-2005 09:13 AM


Originally Posted by saintswhodi
I don't think many can argue they are the best 4. Our rotation will be deep. While 3 and a stud DT would be a better combo, we get Howard at DT on obvious passing downs(even though he doesn't like it), and have he, turnover machine Smith, and Grant on the field at the same time. They should make some hay this year IF we can stop the run somehow. Should be fun.

Whodi, they aren't the best in the division, much less the NFL...
... until tthe Saints front 4 prove it on the field, Carolina has the best front 4 in the division(which BTW, are considered the best front 4 in the NFL)

... do you really think these 4 are better than say, Pittsburgh's front 4? Or New England's front 4?

papz 06-06-2005 09:27 AM

I think you are misunderstanding Tobias, we are referring to the position of DE, not the front 4 in general. We can't come close to what Carolina and Jacksonville has for their front line. That's a given.

saintswhodi 06-06-2005 09:38 AM

Exactly right papz. TR I think you missed the WHOLE point of the title of the thread and the article. We are talking about DEs ONLY. We all know Carolina's front four is the standard bearer of the NFL, and the article even gives props to Rucker and Peppers as poss the best 2 DE combo. But for all four, as in rotational, ours are and should be considered the best. Just poor poor read and understand on your part TR. :P

papz 06-06-2005 09:53 AM

Happens to me all the freaking time when I skim. Then I wind up saying something that made absolutely no sense. :wink:

Tobias-Reiper 06-06-2005 01:26 PM

... my bad... my eyes were reading DE, my mind was reading Dline...
..still.. Grant and Howard, yes... Will Smith, he looks good, but I don't know if he's that much better than, say, Al Wallace... and Bryant to me looks more like a journeyman than anything else..

papz 06-06-2005 01:59 PM

You don't think he's that much better than Al Wallace?!?! The grade school teacher turned NFL player?!?! Al Wallace has 15 career NFL sacks in 6 plus seasons. Will Smith has 7.5 after playing part-time for 1 year. I think there's a big difference in talent level. I like Al Wallace... he's a pretty solid backup, but no where in the same level as what Smith brings to the table. Also the fact that Kris Jenkins and Buckner demand extra attention down in the trenches, it makes Wallace look better than he really is.

In 6 seasons, Tony Bryant has 20 career sacks. Looks like pretty good depth to me for a 4th/5th guy on the depth chart.

saintswhodi 06-06-2005 02:29 PM

In limited duty, with much weaker DTs than Peppers and Rucker have, Will Smith had the most forced turnovers of all our DEs. And 7.5 sacks, in part time duty, as a rookie. And 40 freaking tackles. In Howard's best year, he only had 53 tackles. again, this is a rookie we are talking about, in part time duty. Will is a stud. And if he is our third DE, we are set, and even when he is our second, we will be set for a very very long time.

I don't know what you have against the guy TR comparing him to Al Wallace, but it is some kinda bias that is unfounded. Wallace has played 6 years in the NFL and Smith already has half as many sacks and one more forced turnover. That was an insult to the young kid. But I guess in order to justify your point.......................................

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