The headlines from this match have obviously and rightly gone to Drew Brees becoming the most passingest (that is a word, I promise….) Quarterback in the NFL, he truly is a living legend in the sport and I’m not sure what I will do when he retires. Probably cry, a lot, although I won’t admit it. Pretend like you didn’t even read that.
Anyway…I just wanted to focus on what a good job the Saints defense has been doing in recent weeks and especially MNF. After struggling by conceding 48 points in week one against an on fire buccaneers, the Saints have given up 18, 37 and 18 points in the following weeks finishing by holding the Redskins to 19 points on Monday Night Football in the Superdome and now go into their bye week with the defense on the up. Consistent to say the least. All of this has been done with playing essentially one quality cornerback in Marshon Lattimore. The other corner has been filled with Ken Crawley, PJ Williams and various others at different times. In the MNF game Lattimore went out early with a potential concussion putting Justin Hardee as the next man up and boy did he show up getting an interception in the 3rd quarter to halt a Redskins drive and return it to the 4 yard line leading to another Saints score.
The rush defense has been a whole load better this season, on Monday they held the Redskins to 39 yards (on 18 attempts, just over 2.1 yards per attempt) including holding former Saints Adrian Peterson to 6 yards. In rush yards per game the Saints unit currently sits 3rd in the NFL. The linebackers in general have been healthy so far allowing more time on the field and more time to play as a unit. A big factor in this has been Demario Davis, this guy has been everywhere. Putting pressure and tackles (6) in on the skins on Monday and assisting plays too, what I have noticed most about him is his speed, he is rapid, he was keeping up the whole time when Hardee got that pick.
Another player I was really impressed with on Monday was Vonn Bell, he has really showed up the last couple of weeks, recording 8 tackles in the last game, at crucial times too, Bell looks like he is playing with a lot of confidence and he is reaping his rewards, more of the same please!
Marcus Davenport’s stock keeps rising too, the number of eyebrows raised when the Saints traded up for Davenport in the draft meant that this guy had to be something special and he is. Giving support for Cam Jordan, (who also got another sack, my boy) coming off the other DE spot, Davenport recorded another sack and forced a fumble too. This guy doesn’t just tackle opposing QB’s he eats them. He is big at 6’6” and 265lbs and it works in his favour hitting the opposing hard and letting them know he is there. I can only see more good things from Marcus (can I call you Marcus now) in the future with more rival QB’s to feel his power soon. Some of those eyebrows can be lowered now guys.
Sheldon Rankins has been quietly playing some good stuff too with another sack to his name, I remember one tackle when the opposing receiver looked well past him but he turned, leapt forwards and got the tackle in stopping further progress and getting the man down.
There are still issues with this defense, mainly the pass defense, that’s plain to see. But if the adjustments can be made during the bye week, Lattimore gets rested and healthy and the linebackers keep doing what they are doing I don’t see a reason why they can’t be top 10.
Another big challenge awaits against the Ravens in week 7, although they didn’t score a TD at the Browns they have the potential to rack up points. They sometimes run a similar system to the Saints in 2 QB sets and have some deep throw weapons (if they didn’t keep dropping the ball). The Saints will need to keep up the pressure on Flacco, record the sacks and get turnovers should the opportunity arise. Coach Payton has a terrible record against those pesky ravens too, let’s hope that changes soon.
Luckily for me the game wasn’t flexed to SNF, just the midnight bed time that night instead of 4ish am.
Keep it going boys. Until next time.