The Eli Apple Variable

Last year in 2017-2018, the New Orleans Saints defense played above average and garnered comparisons to the 2009-2010 Super Bowl run defense. To start out in 2018, the defense fell off causing people to start prepping brown bags for head wearing. Midway through the season the Saints obtained Eli Apple from the New York Giants. Being new to the team he has not been perfect, but he has done enough that the cornerback position opposite of Marshon Lattimore doesn’t get constantly picked on. Apple was a top first round pick in his draft, so his expectations were above average. In his first game against the almost unstoppable receiving tandem of Stephan Diggs and Adam Thielen, Apple found a way to lead the team in tackles with 9. Against the LA Rams, a powerhouse of an offense, he contributed to slowing them down enough for the Saints to pull out a win and define themselves as one of the best teams in the league after statistically starting out as the worst past defense in the NFL. The very next week Eli contributed to holding Andy Dalton, who had been playing very well this season, to only 153 yards passing while also stealing his first interception as a Saint. The Saints holding the Bengals or any team to 14 points means they are an overall better defense.

With that said the Saints one upped that, and held the Super Bowl Champions consisting of highly touted Carson Wentz with an above average selection of receiving weapons to 7 points. 3 sacks were accumulated that Eli didn’t get, but was an accessory by giving the pass rush time to lay Wentz on the ground. Seems like longer, but Eli Apple has only played four games. Each game the defense has shown to be drastically better than the first few weeks of the season.

Eli may not be perfect at all time or considered the number one cornerback on this team, but you can not deny him doing his part to make this team better and fill in a huge hole. If he did not get traded to New Orleans, what do to think the Saints record would be? We will never know, but there wasn’t trend in the up direction until he came along. He received plenty of question about his play, off field issues after the trade. Nobody is asking those questions now. He is still young in his career so expect more improvement as the season rolls along. Eli will face another big test versus the little brother rival Atlanta Falcons. Keep your eyes on him, Happy Thanksgiving and WHODAT. Eat well & get hyped HOOOTY HOOOOO!!!!!