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tyler735

Reasons For Optimism This Season

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The regular season hasn't started yet and our Super Bowl hopes are still alive. Might as well make a thread dedicated for reasons to have hope that this is the season things turn around. What are some key moves/players/reasons you feel this will be an improved Saints team over the past several seasons?

I'm going to start with the defensive unit looking much improved. Between being healthier and adding much needed talent I think the defense is going to be a pleasant surprise this season.

Just for fun I ran some numbers regarding defensive preseason performances since Sean Payton took over as coach for us. Here is how the defenses have done in past years in preseason:

2016- 25 Points per game allowed

2015- 30.25 Points per game allowed

2014- 21.75 Points per game allowed

2013- 20 Points per game allowed 

2012- 16.2 Points per game allowed 

2011- 20.5 Points per game allowed 

2010- 23.75 Points per game allowed 

2009- 9.5 Points per game allowed 

2008- 13.75 Points per game allowed 

2007- 14.75 Points per game allowed 

2006- 20.75 Points per game allowed 

And finally in 2017 our defense averaged a very impressive 10.25 Points per game allowed.

This is our lowest amount since 2009 which happened to be a decent season for us if my memory is correct. While I know it is just preseason, it has been obvious that our level of defensive play has vastly improved over recent years. People are swarming to ball carriers, making tackles in the open field, we've gotten consistent pressure on the QB, and our coverage even seems to be better making plays on the ball. I truly believe that even an average defense that can generate some turnovers will be enough for this team to make a run in the playoffs with the amount of fire power we have on offense. I hope this preseason is a sign of things to come for this defense.

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16 minutes ago, tyler735 said:

This is our lowest amount since 2009 which happened to be a decent season for us if my memory is correct.

Don't get too hyped buddy. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure we were just *okay* in the 2009 season. ^_^

 

No, but really. That's an impressive stat, I didn't realize our defense did so well in that preseason. I feel pretty good about our chances of going to the playoffs this year.

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We all know preseason isn't anything to hang our hat on, right? I'm here to tell ya, it's an attitude, not just a few weeks of discovery. .....and I'm hangin' my hat on it!

Some will argue with me (happens a lot) but this preseason thing is a proving ground for the young guys (and some of the vets) and a spot to knock the rust off.

Stats don't lie, and look at the stats. This post is Brilliant!!!!!! Nice job!!!!!!

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What Ive seen that has me excited is the miniscule amount of miscommunications and missed assignments we've seen over the last few seasons. Solid tackling was another thing that they displayed this preseason. 

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10 hours ago, SSK said:

What Ive seen that has me excited is the miniscule amount of miscommunications and missed assignments we've seen over the last few seasons. Solid tackling was another thing that they displayed this preseason. 

I can't help but to think of a few things - they are additions.

Marshawn Lattimore comes from a school where success is rampant, and in order to play at a high level there, you have to know what you're doing, and know team work. That means communication.

AJ Klein comes from an NFL team that basically has had the best, or at least top 5 defense for some time. And keep in mind, the only thing that kept him from starting as head LB there is a guy named Luke Kuechly, who happens to be pretty good. When you learn from the best, and spend 4-5 years with the best, you're going to be pretty darn good. Klein is smart, and durable.

Muhammad is as hungry as they come, and is freaking people out. Now, he's always been playing against the #2-3 offense, but once he acclimates to #1 speed, this kid is going to surprise. He also seems smart, but I'm speculating there.

Bottom line, when you have good communication, and football smart players, you're going to be in the right places at the right times. On the other hand, you can run a 4.4 40, but if you're on the opposite side of the field, and you can't tell other players what's going on, it doesn't matter how fast you are, you're going to lose. I think that's what we're seeing with Anthony.

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5 minutes ago, Mid Iowa said:

I can't help but to think of a few things - they are additions.

Marshawn Lattimore comes from a school where success is rampant, and in order to play at a high level there, you have to know what you're doing, and know team work. That means communication.

AJ Klein comes from an NFL team that basically has had the best, or at least top 5 defense for some time. And keep in mind, the only thing that kept him from starting as head LB there is a guy named Luke Kuechly, who happens to be pretty good. When you learn from the best, and spend 4-5 years with the best, you're going to be pretty darn good. Klein is smart, and durable.

Muhammad is as hungry as they come, and is freaking people out. Now, he's always been playing against the #2-3 offense, but once he acclimates to #1 speed, this kid is going to surprise. He also seems smart, but I'm speculating there.

Bottom line, when you have good communication, and football smart players, you're going to be in the right places at the right times. On the other hand, you can run a 4.4 40, but if you're on the opposite side of the field, and you can't tell other players what's going on, it doesn't matter how fast you are, you're going to lose. I think that's what we're seeing with Anthony.

5

I agree with you about "football smarts". Makes a huge difference.

I also like how they added LBs that are intellectual outside of football. 

"Anzalone is already a college graduate. He recently got his sport management degree and is now in graduate school for business management.

Growing up in the Philadelphia suburb of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Anzalone graduated from high school with a 4.8 grade-point average."

"AJ Klein was an  ISU Scholar Athlete"

I think Anzalone may be the draft pick that has the biggest impact. 

 

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I'm bringing Tyler's post back up to the top. This was at the end of preseason.

We're not 10.25 points per game, but we are winning! There's some good stuff written above.

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Must say I'm a bit surprised at just how much of an improvement we've seen through the first 9 games. Currently we are tied for 5th with the Vikings/Seahawks for points allowed per game at 18.3ppg. I never thought I'd say we'd be tied with the Vikings/Seahawk, or top 5 in any major defensive stat like that, which is certainly a great sign that things are looking bright in regards to the future of this young defense. We legitimately could be top 3 in ppg after this week if we can pull off another big defensive game against the Redskins.

Current PPG defensive leaders

Jaguars- 14.9 ppg

Steelers- 16.4 ppg

Panthers- 18.0 ppg  

Rams- 18.0 ppg 

We've also given up the 8th fewest yards per game at 312.3 ypg, and could move up to 6th fewest if we can get it down to 310 ypg. 

Maybe at some point the defense starts to come back down to earth, but I also have reason to believe they won't. I think we have an abundance of talent spread throughout the defense. Just look at where many of these guys were drafted. Jordan (1st round), Rankins (1st round), Lattimore (1st round), Vaccaro (1st round), Williams (2nd round), Bell (2nd round). Then add in the fact that we may have found a few late round gems/key free agent signings- Ken Crawley, AJ Klein, Alex Okafor 

One thing I'd like to note is that there was a lot of concern regarding having a pass rusher opposite Jordan who is currently having a career year. I must say I really like what I've seen with the rotation of Okafor, Kikaha, and Hendrickson. So far this season in just 9 games that trio has accounted for 9.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. I really wish Nick Fairley was healthy this season. I think our pass rush would be putting up even crazier numbers with him in there as well.

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Feels good to finally have a defense again.  Even if they do come crashing back down to Earth, these past 7 games have been fun to watch.

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How awesome must something like this feel for Cam and Kenny? Their thoughts of "finally, we have some other good players". I mean seriously, have you ever seen guys so good (especially Jordan) who get stuck on a crappy team for so long that they just about give up?

I think that's why I admire Cam so much. The guy has never given up, even when he was on historically bad defenses. What a stud, and it's finally paying off.

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1 hour ago, Mid Iowa said:

How awesome must something like this feel for Cam and Kenny? Their thoughts of "finally, we have some other good players". I mean seriously, have you ever seen guys so good (especially Jordan) who get stuck on a crappy team for so long that they just about give up?

I think that's why I admire Cam so much. The guy has never given up, even when he was on historically bad defenses. What a stud, and it's finally paying off.

Ive been saying for a while now... I could care less about a 2nd superbowl for Brees. I wanna see the Saints win a 1st championship for guys like Jordan, Ingram and Vaccaro.

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6 minutes ago, whodatworm23 said:

Ive been saying for a while now... I could care less about a 2nd superbowl for Brees. I wanna see the Saints win a 1st championship for guys like Jordan, Ingram and Vaccaro.

If anyone deserves a ring, it's Cam jordan, legitimately great player on perpetual historically bad defense.

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1 hour ago, Jlowe22 said:

If anyone deserves a ring, it's Cam jordan, legitimately great player on perpetual historically bad defense.

I mentioned those 3 because all of them have been good players and leaders for us post 2009. Yes Jordan is a great player but its not a coincidence that Vaccaro is having a great year when he finally is surrounded by some talent and all Ingram has done is fend off competition since hes been here. All these guys have been big time leaders for us through some really dark times.

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1 hour ago, whodatworm23 said:

I mentioned those 3 because all of them have been good players and leaders for us post 2009. Yes Jordan is a great player but its not a coincidence that Vaccaro is having a great year when he finally is surrounded by some talent and all Ingram has done is fend off competition since hes been here. All these guys have been big time leaders for us through some really dark times.

I wasn't saying they didn't deserve one, only emphasizing the part that Cam Jordan does.

As far as Vacarro, I like the guy and think he's a good player, but he's also in a contract year.  At times in the past three years he's been downright bad.  How much of this is due to being in a bad situation or lack of hustle I can't say, because I don't know him personally, but it's something to keep an eye on when it comes time to pay him.

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4 hours ago, whodatworm23 said:

I mentioned those 3 because all of them have been good players and leaders for us post 2009. Yes Jordan is a great player but its not a coincidence that Vaccaro is having a great year when he finally is surrounded by some talent and all Ingram has done is fend off competition since hes been here. All these guys have been big time leaders for us through some really dark times.

What a great point!! Ingram has been "having" to prove himself year, after year, after year, and even this year. Get that boy some hardware!!!

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