||07-05-2005 10:27 AM
Interesting facts about last year's defense.
The Saints TEAM allowed 405 points total last year. That gave the defense an average points allowed of 25.3. But even on NFL.com's site, they let you know all these points didn't come from simply not stopping people. They include punt returns and kick returns, as well as the opposing team's defense scoring due to a mistake by our offense. Well, that's not really fair, as the defense has no control over that. So I did some figuring. The Saints OFFENSE gave 21 points directly to the D, 2 fumbles and 1 INT returned for scores. That's 21 points. Take this from the team's average, and that drops it to 24 points allowed even. Compare that to a Minnesota who gave up ZERO points off turnovers by the offense, as well as Indy and the Jets, hell, even Eli and the Giants. But Indy and Minny's defenses are ranked close to ours overall, so i'll stick with them. With no subtraction cause of this number, Indy's defense allowed 21.7 points a game, and Minny's 24.7. Now you could suppose at the rate Peyton was throwing TDs last year, the opposing teams were forced to throw early and often to keep up, allowing Freeney and Co. to tee off on QBs, thus not allowing those teams to play their games, thus lowering their scoring numbers, or not. Either way, we just passed playoff Minny in points allowed, and are not that far off Indy.
Now special teams. Each team allowed either a punt return or a kick return. Take ours out, we go to 23.5. Minny goes to 24.25, and Indy is around 21.4 or 21.5. So just taking those figures out, we shaved two whole points off our points allowed. And although I could, I won't even look into the times our offense gave the opposing team the ball in scoring position. Off top, in the Seattle game week one, a pass was intercepted late in the game that gave Seattle the ball inside their own twenty. Not much the D can do about that. But just sticking with this, 2 poins off our average is significant because our offense only scored 21.8 points per game. That's more than only 3 playoff teams, Atlanta, St. Louis, and the Jets. The closest team above us is Seattle, and they scored 1.4 points more per game than us, and it just gets worse for the better teams. But let's look at some other places our offense got points from. They were given credit for points on 2 kick returns(special teams), one fumble return(defense), a blocked punt(special teams), and a safety(defense), which equals 30 points, assuming all extra points were made. That drops their average to 19.9 points per game. That's 4 Tds and a safety, which was about the norm for every team above us who made the playoffs. Some had 5 additional scores, which would subtract 35 points from them instead of 30 like us, and some had way less, like San D with 1 KR, 1 INT return, and a safety. So top to bottom, we stay about the same. And compared to Minny and Indy, whom I compared our defense to cause they were pretty close, our offense wasn't even in the same league.
Basically, if our offense averaged what playoff team's offenses averaged, we would have easily outscored the points given up by the D, even without taking into account the situations like the Seattle game. I think that would have been enough to win one more game for us, and get us into the playoffs, especially since out D was top 10 in takeaways. Fortunately for us, the front office realized this, and made moves that will concentrate on keeping the offense on the field more, and the defense on the field less so we can realize this turnaround. There is no reason our offense can't be more efficient, and help not only our defense, but the TEAM as a whole with this efficiency. When I think of the changes made on the offensive side of the ball, no lie, I get a little excited. Cause I think if we have the type of offense we are capable of having, we will accomplish big things. Just think about all those first quarters we didn't score, and red zone turnovers which leads to zero points. Subtract those, and we are looking at a possibly winning, and very good team. Geaux Saints. :D