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.

Could the Saints have the NFL’s best secondary?

Who will have the NFL’s best secondary?

By: Jake Rajala

The New Orleans Saints allowed the third-fewest passing touchdowns (20 passing touchdowns allowed) & the fourth-worst passer rating allowed (81.7) last season. Despite Malcolm Jenkins retiring and Marcus Williams fleeing to Baltimore, the Saints general manager Mickey Loomis managed to level up the Saints secondary this off-season via the signings of Marcus Maye (who was voted the New York Jets most valuable player in 2020) and Tyrann Mathieu (first-team All-Pro in 2019 and 2020). With that said, there is serious reason to believe the Saints pass defense ascends into the NFL’s top unit in 2022.

The Saints pass defense doesn’t only have new faces that enjoy breaking the hearts of opposing signal-callers, but they should also witness growth from members of their 2021 pass defense. For instance, Paulson Adebo (third-round pick in the 2021 draft) has arguably taken the biggest leap of any player this off-season. He proved in the Saints latest pre-season battle that his hard work has paid off. Adebo made a beautiful tackle for loss on the second defensive play of the game (as shown below).

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson might make headlines for his personality, but his football ability is also beginning to look sexy. After CGJ ousted a personal best three interceptions in 12 games last season, the former Florida DB is looking even better this summer. Early in training camp, he impressively made a pick-six on Jameis Winston. CGJ is also entering a contract season, so expect him to leave everything out on the field in 2022.

The Saints have continuity, talent, and (somehow) an underdog mentality. I love the Baltimore Ravens secondary and the Saints secondary at this mid-stage in August more than every other pass defense in the league. I wholeheartedly believe the Saints should be a Top-3 pass defense in the league next season and that they should absolutely aim to have the scariest secondary in the NFL.

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