May 15th, 2012
There’s never really a time when a team in any sport has nothing to worry about. There are always problems. Such is life.
It’s how a team handles its problems that will make or break its season.
As you all may or may not know, the New Orleans Saints had just a little bit of a problem this offseason with the NFL. It won’t be mentioned, we are all well aware of how media has over-covered the topic.
Let’s agree to move on from that. Instead, let’s look at some problems the Saints may run into in the 2012 season.
Some of you may have been lucky enough to come across my previous Saints articles. For those who haven’t, I cannot stress enough how the Saints need to improve their anemic pass rush. In a pass-happy league, the Saints must find a way to disrupt quarterbacks—they didn’t do such a good job of slowing down Alex Smith in the NFC Divisional game.
The Saints being ranked 30th in pass defense last season goes to show that they weren’t generating enough pressure on quarterbacks. The team finished with just 33 sacks last season, Roman Harper leading the way with 7.5 sacks. A defensive back with the most sacks on a team? That shouldn’t be the case.
Things will change with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo will want to generate more pressure up front and less with sending the house.
Will the Saints current personnel be more productive under Spagnuolo? Can the front four generate more pressure? It may be tough in the beginning with Will Smith suspended for a few games, so it is imperative that the others like Cameron Jordan, Junior Galette and Turk McBride step up.
In the Saints’ first five weeks of their upcoming NFL season, they get to face Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers. And who knows how RGIII will do in his first NFL game. The rest of the season won’t exactly be a walk in the park, either.
As mentioned above, the Saints ranked 30th in pass defense last season. This group needs to improve, and they need to do it fast. Last season, the Saints gave up way too many yards through the air. The defensive backs were also inconsistent with their tackling.
Can the secondary change this season with a new defensive philosophy?
This ordeal with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints is turning into a sticky situation, to say the least. You’d think that the organization would do everything to sign its all-world player, the face of its franchise (I know there’s more to it than that and that it’s easier said than done). It goes without saying, but, if there is no Drew Brees this season, the Saints’ season will take a major nosedive.
The past few seasons, the Saints haven’t had many problems with their offense, thanks to Brees putting up Madden-like numbers. If Brees doesn’t play due to his current contract turmoil with the Saints, where will that leave the team? Without Brees behind center, the team will have a whole lot more to worry about than just its defense.
Brees has missed some team workouts thus far. Can the Saints pull it off and sign Brees to a long-term contract before the 2012 season starts?
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