Perspective on where our defense stands (1 Viewer)

TCUDan

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I posted this on the Galette thread in response to someone saying that after they watched a video of Galette, they realized that maybe our defense isn't as bad as we think:


>>Honestly, I think if someone posted a highlight video from last season of the defense... and if it were possible to view it in a vacuum, without the context of "worst ranked defense in NFL history", there'd probably be a lot more optimism.

I've said this before, this was a mediocre defense before Spagnuolo got here. I won't include the Super Bowl season when discussing personnel. So the changes from 2010/2011 to 2012 are this (feel free to add, this is straight off the top of my head):

Added: 2 100+ tacklers at LB. Added one of the league's best run-stopping NTs. And include Cam Jordan as a 2nd year player--much better than he was as a rookie.

Lost: Tracy Porter.


Do we really think Porter had that big of an impact? That our defense went from mediocre to worst in NFL history?


Scheme/philosophy can transform a unit, for better or worse. I understand the Spagnuolo logic. "Let's install a system that is sustainable and not as gimmicky, high risk/high reward as what GW had." I agreed, was 100% on board. And then I saw how much a rough (very rough) learning curve negatively affected our team.

As a coach, I am NOT a fan of the Buddy Ryan coaching tree... the coaches, the scheme... the philosophy, fine... I like aggression, but I hate the hyperbolic flexing and the stubborn commitment to the blitz. But regardless of my personal reservations, we have seen that with an aggressive scheme/philosophy on defense, this is a team that was able to win 36 games in 3 seasons. Our defense may never be the most feared, shut-down, dominant defense in the league. But that doesn't mean it can't be aggressive, physical and opportunistic (without all the hyperbolic BS).

The defense is not far off. And I can't wait to watch Rob Ryan get all the credit in the media for "turning this defense around... just phenomenal"... and I'll laugh. Getting rid of Spagnuolo is as important--if not more--than bringing in Rob Ryan.

Point being, the defense is not far off and neither is this team. Personnel-wise, we're better than we were in 2010/2011. Apparently a lot gets attributed on here to guys "getting old." Apparently Jon Vilma, Will Smith, Jabari Greer all picked the same season to fall off the cliff. Malcolm Jenkins, Patrick Robinson, they all picked the exact same time to forget how to cover. And 4 perennial 100+ tacklers forgot how to tackle (including Roman Harper). The list goes on.

The personnel is there. It may not be a bunch of pro bowlers, but this team has the talent that if someone comes in, willing to play the players to their strengths rather than trying to pigeon-hole them... this can be a very good COMPLIMENTARY defense.

Last time we had that, we won a Super Bowl.
 

bornnraisedwhodat

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Good post. I agree the defensive talent isnt terrible.

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bclemms

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1) We absolutely lacked playmakers on defense. I personally think we had them on the roster and Spags refused to change his scheme and refused to play younger players.

2) We absolutely lack consistency from quite a few positions on defense. We are pretty terrible at FS, we were really bad at OLB last season, SS was a weakness since Harper was out of his comfort zone in Spags defense and our end play was lacking for reasons listed in #1.

3) We lack size in the secondary. Scheme isn't going to make Prob or Greer taller and it wont change that they struggle agaisnt bigger receivers.

4) Scheme change isn't going to have much of an impact on making guys better tacklers give them better fundamentals.

I do agree that the biggest thing we could do to improve the defense was to get rid of Spags, he was terrible. I also think simply by going to a 34 defense allows us to put our best players on the field without having to try and hide weaknesses.

Simply by firing Spags it takes away #1.
If Rex Ryan plays to his players strengths then our secondary gets better instantly. Also by getting our playmakers on the field at the OLB spots it helps create pressure which also makes our secondary better.

I think we still lack size in the secondary, lack a playmaker in the secondary and lack consistent play at the FS spot. I really think if we can fix these problems in the offseason we are looking at a defense finishing in the top half of the league. Sure, we'll still have some holes but all NFL teams have holes.
 

duhonmark551

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I saw Spags completely screwed the system during the first six games, leaving Big Sed in the whole game for instance. When Vitt returned he dressed down Spags and started putting younger players to spell the older guys, Hawthorne got healthy and replaced Shanle and Vilma returned, but by then we were well on our way to history.

We improved towards the end of the season, but it was obvious to Payton that Spags was the biggest problem with his stubbornness on personnel, and his demand that the defense not audible out of the called play. Offensive geniuses like Blaine Gabbert and Matt Cassell had career days against our defense.

Big Sed, Shanle, Herring and Johnny Patrick will probably not be here next year. These guys were weak links for sure but their inadequacy made others around them look bad too.
 

SaintsJunkie

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nice post I agree, the difference in the last year seemed to be that we let porter go and brought in a safety to replace him because we were going to run more zone. I didn't really understanding spags, and was a bit concerned with the number of corners and who they were at the start of last season. Now I see the importance the Ryans put in corners, revis, cromartie, Nnamdi Asomugha, Morris Claiborne, and how they address this early in drafts and i think we lack a 3rd corner and wonder how important they see this piece in fixing our defense.

One of the things l liked about GW, he used all the players to the best of their abilities in whatever scheme best fit that week.
 

Bartyboy

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You know a whole lot more than i do on this. I work in I.T. and get laughs daily on what regular users think the problem is. So what I hear you saying is that with only a few cuts and restructures to clear cap space they can rebuild. Get some good backups through FA. A starter or 2 on D. Then draft bpa regardless of position. Or do they still need to target De, OLB and DB in the draft?
 

guillermo

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The defense will be more better if finally we stop giving away the big plays, same symptom in both the Williams' and Spagnuolo's administrations. You can cut around 80 yards per game if we are not burned on big plays, normally coming by runs off-tackle and missed coverage.

To me, the priority #1 is to find a center fielder who can stop this big plays and also to put our secondary players in place, a quarterback of the secondary.

The problem that I see in Ryan's system is that, like Williams, he likes to use his safeties mostly as right and left, but also giving them a lot of coverage responsibilities. I think we have to realize that we have to play our free safety, as free as possible.

Now, a good question will be if we are going to use mostly man or zone coverage. I am very worried with the development of Robinson, sometimes he looks great but seems to
loose concentration.

I really hope we can bring a cover guy who can bring competition outside, I also hope that Jenkins will be used as a slot cover at nickle and dime, and again, someone to avoid that curse that is the big play.
 

Kurgan

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We agree spagnuolo didn't put any single player in the condition to succeed thanks to his strenght. But i still think we don't have a damn single playmaker on D. If someone comes up, i'll be more than happy. But being so awful wasn't only spagnuolo, jmo
 

guillermo

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We agree spagnuolo didn't put any single player in the condition to succeed thanks to his strenght. But i still think we don't have a damn single playmaker on D. If someone comes up, i'll be more than happy. But being so awful wasn't only spagnuolo, jmo

True, but as I said besides the big plays on runs off-tackle and the lost coverage, there are other symptoms that come before Spags, even before Williams: For all of the years of Sean Payton, only the Superbowl year we saw a roaming defense, able to gang tackle. Even during the Gibbs' years we were complaining about missed tackles and lack of turnovers.

We know we have less time to coach players now, but we certainly need a tackle clinic, and on both sides of the ball, catching drills!

We may have the worst hands on any defense on the NFL (and sadly, it seems that is contagious to our offense), besides Vilma, our players don't seem to hit the ball to create fumbles, we miss too many tackles and we rarely see gang tackling behind our defensive line. All of these are problems of the Payton administration as a whole, not only the year of Sapgnuolo.
 

Kurgan

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Yep very good post i agree wholeheartedly. I just hope we can fix once and for all the tackle bug..
 

ndcc

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I posted this on the Galette thread in response to someone saying that after they watched a video of Galette, they realized that maybe our defense isn't as bad as we think:


>>Honestly, I think if someone posted a highlight video from last season of the defense... and if it were possible to view it in a vacuum, without the context of "worst ranked defense in NFL history", there'd probably be a lot more optimism.

I've said this before, this was a mediocre defense before Spagnuolo got here. I won't include the Super Bowl season when discussing personnel. So the changes from 2010/2011 to 2012 are this (feel free to add, this is straight off the top of my head):

Added: 2 100+ tacklers at LB. Added one of the league's best run-stopping NTs. And include Cam Jordan as a 2nd year player--much better than he was as a rookie.

Lost: Tracy Porter.


Do we really think Porter had that big of an impact? That our defense went from mediocre to worst in NFL history?


Scheme/philosophy can transform a unit, for better or worse. I understand the Spagnuolo logic. "Let's install a system that is sustainable and not as gimmicky, high risk/high reward as what GW had." I agreed, was 100% on board. And then I saw how much a rough (very rough) learning curve negatively affected our team.

As a coach, I am NOT a fan of the Buddy Ryan coaching tree... the coaches, the scheme... the philosophy, fine... I like aggression, but I hate the hyperbolic flexing and the stubborn commitment to the blitz. But regardless of my personal reservations, we have seen that with an aggressive scheme/philosophy on defense, this is a team that was able to win 36 games in 3 seasons. Our defense may never be the most feared, shut-down, dominant defense in the league. But that doesn't mean it can't be aggressive, physical and opportunistic (without all the hyperbolic BS).

The defense is not far off. And I can't wait to watch Rob Ryan get all the credit in the media for "turning this defense around... just phenomenal"... and I'll laugh. Getting rid of Spagnuolo is as important--if not more--than bringing in Rob Ryan.

Point being, the defense is not far off and neither is this team. Personnel-wise, we're better than we were in 2010/2011. Apparently a lot gets attributed on here to guys "getting old." Apparently Jon Vilma, Will Smith, Jabari Greer all picked the same season to fall off the cliff. Malcolm Jenkins, Patrick Robinson, they all picked the exact same time to forget how to cover. And 4 perennial 100+ tacklers forgot how to tackle (including Roman Harper). The list goes on.

The personnel is there. It may not be a bunch of pro bowlers, but this team has the talent that if someone comes in, willing to play the players to their strengths rather than trying to pigeon-hole them... this can be a very good COMPLIMENTARY defense.

Last time we had that, we won a Super Bowl.

Great post as usual, Dan. But I'm a little surprised that you didn't put more emphasis on the importance of a very good Free Safety.

:gosaints:
 

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Good post, TCUDan. I believe that Spagnuolo's scheme did not fit the skill sets of the players the Saints have. Many of the players some people are criticizing now contributed mightily to the Super Bowl season. It's amazing how people think every player in the NFL should be able to play the position in any scheme. It just shows how little many of us actually know about professional football.
 

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Started reading the thread and didn't see who posted it. Was about two-thirds of the way through when I thought, "This guys really knows his stuff." I scrolled-up and saw it was TCU Dan. Superb insights as usual. Thx
 

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I'm still wondering if we can move Jenkins back to CB. His big knock coming out of college was that he wasn't fast enough to play CB in the NFL and I think his years as a Saint have disproved that.
 

bornnraisedwhodat

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At the end of the day i think our 2013 Defense will be better than our 2012 D, but still be mediocre. Hopefullt we'll be good in key areas (redzone, 3rd down, t.o.'s)

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bearze34

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I posted this on the Galette thread in response to someone saying that after they watched a video of Galette, they realized that maybe our defense isn't as bad as we think:


>>Honestly, I think if someone posted a highlight video from last season of the defense... and if it were possible to view it in a vacuum, without the context of "worst ranked defense in NFL history", there'd probably be a lot more optimism.

I've said this before, this was a mediocre defense before Spagnuolo got here. I won't include the Super Bowl season when discussing personnel. So the changes from 2010/2011 to 2012 are this (feel free to add, this is straight off the top of my head):

Added: 2 100+ tacklers at LB. Added one of the league's best run-stopping NTs. And include Cam Jordan as a 2nd year player--much better than he was as a rookie.

Lost: Tracy Porter.


Do we really think Porter had that big of an impact? That our defense went from mediocre to worst in NFL history?


Scheme/philosophy can transform a unit, for better or worse. I understand the Spagnuolo logic. "Let's install a system that is sustainable and not as gimmicky, high risk/high reward as what GW had." I agreed, was 100% on board. And then I saw how much a rough (very rough) learning curve negatively affected our team.

As a coach, I am NOT a fan of the Buddy Ryan coaching tree... the coaches, the scheme... the philosophy, fine... I like aggression, but I hate the hyperbolic flexing and the stubborn commitment to the blitz. But regardless of my personal reservations, we have seen that with an aggressive scheme/philosophy on defense, this is a team that was able to win 36 games in 3 seasons. Our defense may never be the most feared, shut-down, dominant defense in the league. But that doesn't mean it can't be aggressive, physical and opportunistic (without all the hyperbolic BS).

The defense is not far off. And I can't wait to watch Rob Ryan get all the credit in the media for "turning this defense around... just phenomenal"... and I'll laugh. Getting rid of Spagnuolo is as important--if not more--than bringing in Rob Ryan.

Point being, the defense is not far off and neither is this team. Personnel-wise, we're better than we were in 2010/2011. Apparently a lot gets attributed on here to guys "getting old." Apparently Jon Vilma, Will Smith, Jabari Greer all picked the same season to fall off the cliff. Malcolm Jenkins, Patrick Robinson, they all picked the exact same time to forget how to cover. And 4 perennial 100+ tacklers forgot how to tackle (including Roman Harper). The list goes on.

The personnel is there. It may not be a bunch of pro bowlers, but this team has the talent that if someone comes in, willing to play the players to their strengths rather than trying to pigeon-hole them... this can be a very good COMPLIMENTARY defense.

Last time we had that, we won a Super Bowl.


Let's get somewhere in the ballpark of reality. I want this team to win as badly as anyone but the personnel is there? We think it is worse based upon "the worst defense in history" label? Let's just review the first three games of last season. Washington...over 450 yards with a QB that was playing in his first game. Second game....Carolina...over 460 yards with a QB that is a lazy egomaniac and only one step closer to sanity than Vince Young. Third game....KC...over 500 yards to a team that couldn't get a yard or a point against anyone else. We were all staring in amazement at the total inability of this defense to cover anyone, tackle, or rush the passer. Nobody was cheering the talent on this defense outside of a few hardcore homers that would think we had a ton of talent if you brought out the Army defense and put a Saints uniform on them. Most people here and every unbiased observer states that we have a serious lack of talent from bad drafting, bad coaching, and signing the wrong players. In reality, this defense has not recovered from switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 after the Dome Patrol fizzled away. This is not to say that it cannot be improved or people we have cannot be utilized better to play to what limited strengths they have but we do not have a single starter that would see the field on any of the top 5 defenses in this league.....maybe even the top 10. The only one that would have a prayer would be Cam Jordan and that would be very iffy. Our only real hope for next year, outside of an outrageous draft and masterful free agent signings, is to go all out aggressive and let the chips fall where they may.
 

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