Will the Saints defense bounce back?

What happened to the Saints defense in Week 1?

By: Jake Rajala

The New Orleans Saints are (still) expected to have a juggernaut defense in the 2022 season. The Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu) was brought over this off-season to join Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan, and Demario Davis on a defense that allowed the fourth-fewest points last season.

Well, it seems that Who Dat Nation is shocked that the Marcus Mariota-led Atlanta Falcons offense dropped 26 points on the Saints defense in Week 1. So, a fascinating question has surrounded the Saints defense: Will the Saints defense bounce back?

I believe the answer to the prior question is a resounding “yes”. The Saints secondary showed promise in Week 1, particularly from CB Marshon Lattimore. Below is a sharp look at Lattimore flexing his muscles on his friendly opponents in Atlanta (despite his penalties & mental errors).

Marcus Maye also nicely had a forced fumble, while the LSU legend (Mathieu) scooped up the pig skin.

With that said, I believe the front seven should deserve more distaste than the secondary on the Saints D. Well, I honestly have a lot of faith in the Saints front seven and I’m not surprised that they bled against Mariota. Let’s not forget that Eagles dual-threat QB Jalen Hurts had a career-high three rushing TDs against the Saints in 2021. Furthermore, Hurts ran angry for a career-high 106 rushing yds against the Saints in 2020. I believe the double edge sword of history will say the Saints defensive scheme will continue to express flaws against dual-threat QBs (such as Mariota and the familiar Jalen Hurts on January 1st), but the Saints front seven led by the down-hill LB Demario Davis and ascending LB Peter Warner (a FF in Week 1) should at least be a potent run defense against foes that don’t have QBs that idolize Michael Vick.

I foresee the Saints defense, particularly their front seven to display their usual colors against the Brady bunch in Week 2. The Saints icon and cream of the crop edge-rusher Cam Jordan was named NFC Defensive Player of The Week for his efforts against the Bucs in Week 15 last season. The other scary DE Marcus Davenport has also enjoyed teeing off on Brady on numerous occasions. Ultimately, I expect the Saints defense (especially their angry DL and LB group) to begin a journey of rampage against a non-dual threat QB this weekend.

Is Demario Davis a future Hall of Famer?

Will Demario Davis make it into Canton?

By: Jake Rajala

The menacing linebacker Demario Davis has unequivocally been one of the best value-free agent signings in the past decade. The Saints brought in Davis in the 2018 off-season and he really blossomed into a grim reaper-like defender in 2018 and beyond. Davis was a Pro Bowl snub in 2018, First-Team All-Pro in 2019 (with an utterly impressive 90.1 grade by PFF), Second-Team All-Pro in 2020, and Second-Team All-Pro in 2021. With that stated, there is serious reason to believe that the Saints LB that is striving for his fourth straight AP could wind up in Canton and sincerely be one of the best late bloomers in NFL history.

If Davis retired today, I don’t believe he should be cast into Canton. However, if he adds three more, second-team (or first-team) All-Pro seasons, he will certainly have a HOF-worthy. If he adds two more AP seasons w/ a Super Bowl ring, I’d expect to see him wear a gold jacket in the future. The HOF LB and Chicago Bears legend Brian Urlacher has four All-Pro nods. Davis is certainly still playing at a high level – as he registered 105 tackles, 3 sacks, 10 QB hits, 13 TFLs, and 7 pass deflections in 2021. It needs to also be noted that he’s only missed one game in his career. The Saints defensive captain is under contract with Who Dat Nation until the 2025 off-season.

The other Saints defensive captain Cameron Jordan is striving to also make the HOF. He is coming off an impressive 12.5 sack season w/ Pro Bowl honors at the age of 32.

If Davis or Jordan can’t finish with a HOF-caliber career, it seems likely that both defenders will find themselves in the Saints ring of honor.

The Saints defense is still top 5 in the league

Saints defense will be elite in 2021

By: Jeremy Trottier

With the NFL offseason finally starting to finish up, and training camps opening shortly, many teams are close to finishing their rosters.  With that said, the New Orleans Saints are one team that had a huge amount of losses due to cap, primarily on the defensive side of the ball.  However, there are still quite a few reasons their defense could remain top five in the league, despite these hits to the 53 man roster.

In this article, I will be going over the three main reasons this New Orleans defense should remain top five in the league.  

The Core is Still Intact

The main thing that needs to be realized by fans of the NFL, and the Saints, is that the main pieces of this defense are still here.  Even after losing starting-caliber players during the offseason, the Saints have such an extreme depth at most positions that they already had roles being filled before the draft.  Here is a list of the primary players that the Saints have moved on from this offseason, and their likely replacements:

  • Kwon Alexander (LB) – Pete Werner
  • Janoris Jenkins (CB) – Paulson Adebo
  • Trey Hendrickson (DE) – Marcus Davenport or Payton Turner
  • Sheldon Rankins (IDL) – Malcolm Roach or Shy Tuttle
  • Alex Anzalone (LB) – Zack Baun

Overall right now, the Saints defensive roster is very young at a lot of the positions that needed to be filled.  This will be great for New Orleans, as they have needed a 2017 esc draft class where they got a huge deal of starting players all in one class.  An infusion of youth is always nice as well as they will be less injury prone and have the potential to get better as the season goes on.

Coaching is Primarily the Same

The Saints defense is very, very reliant upon its coaching capabilities, and it has been ever since it got effective in 2016 or so.  With DC Dennis Allen still running the show, he will likely be able to use a lot of these young players to their strengths and play them in the best scenario possible.  An interesting note to watch this offseason was the replacement of DBs coach, who is now Kris Richard.  

The reason this is interesting is Kris worked in Seattle during the legion of boom as a DBs coach and coached another relatively tall, 190 pounds, non-first-round Stanford CB by the name of Richard Sherman.  Paulson Adebo fits all of those categories, despite being slightly shorter than Sherman is.  If anyone is going to draw the potential out of Paulson and get him to turn into a lockdown CB on the field, its Kris.  

One more coach who is a primary in the Saints defense is defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen.  The Saints have had six different defensive linemen have had multi-sack games during his tenure, and was the primary reason the Saints had one of the longest streaks not allowing an 100-yard rusher going into the 2020 season.  With young d-linemen such as Payton Turner, Carl Granderson, Shy Tuttle, and even Marcus Davenport in the building, his experience cannot go under the radar.

The Blend of Veteran Leadership and Rookie Mentality

As I mentioned previously, the Saints have quite a few young players on the defensive side of the ball.  With that in mind, they also have veteran players to balance that youth out and to help them develop their mindsets to fit in the NFL.  To name a player at each level, you have Cam Jordan at d-line (10 seasons in the league), Demario Davis at linebacker (9 seasons in the league), and in the secondary Malcolm Jenkins (12 seasons in the league).

These players who have experience within the league, as well as within the Saints system, should really help develop the young players on the roster quickly.  The faster the rookies and young players develop, the better the defense becomes as the talent moves along.  This is a huge deal, as teams who are all younger players or all older players tend to not have high level play normally.  

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