What I see (mostly) defensively 8 weeks in (1 Viewer)

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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I think after week 7 these are your guys to build that defense around.


Cameron Jordan -LDE
Kenny Vaccaro - SS
Vonn Bell - FS
Sheldon Rankins - DT
Delvin Breaux - CB

I think the Middle Tier/Support guys are

Tyeler Davison - NT
David Onyemata - DT
PJ Williams - CB
Sterling Moore - CB


I think these guys are good quality depth to have

Robertson - LB
Stupar - LB
Crawley - CB
BW Webb - CB
Darryl Tap - DE

I think the biggest Wild Cards in this entire thing are

Stephone Anthony - MLB
Hau'oli Kikaha - DE
Erik Harris - FS/SS


What are we missing?

A #2 CB
A rangy WLB
A RDE


Reading an article on Landon Collins and they mentioned how the play of the top 3 CB's has allowed him to play closer to the LOS and show off his range/tackling sklls. That which I think Vaccaro has but it's the plays where he's having to cover the slot WR or TE because nobody else can is where he goes unnoticed and his "box stats" suffer. He's quickly becoming one of the Leaders on that D and while I'm not sure he deserves a top S contract...he is a keeper that we should not let escape.


Part of the issue with the D has been talent/depth the last few years but as you can see we are starting to build that up. There are however some key components missing.


CB's not being on the same page due to youth is something bring a veteran CB in can help with.

3man rotation at DE with a Nickel passrusher is key, while also having that veteran backup (tapp) This is why Kikaha is a big deal here. I'd be looking to draft a DE with some size/run stuffing skills here and also work Kikaha back in. How he's coming a long would determine if I kept Edebali or not.

The 3man rotation at DT is rather solid. Not sure about Fairley next year but It would have to be team friendly. His propensity to play undisciplined can get us in trouble from time to time.

Finally the LB position has to be addressed which makes Anthony the other big wild card. His presence alone would make him the fastest biggest LB on the roster but its getting him going the right direction we've had trouble with.

We lack a WLB also which is another role Vaccaro has had to play at times which again takes him out of the play depending on the responsibility. Again his stats suffer. However, that position become less important if you can get Anthony on the field.



We have the money to address some key spots and the offense is still humming with a young core at the skill positions. Next Year is the year easily but we've got to play chess and plan out these moves. The margin for error is small. We can't go doling out huge contracts and we have to look for role pieces in FA. I'd look to fill in CB and the G position and maybe the LB position in FA while nabbing a T/DE in the draft. Depending on the strength of it. It appears to be a deep DE class next year similar to the DT class and we should be able to come out with a solid guy. Having a legit threat at RDE could take this defense to a legit level.

Add a RB like McCaffrey at some point and we'll were back in the hunt and a very talented deep team with the Core guys in place.


Were not far off....but it's not happening this year.


My apologies for the rant/structure. In between studying for my A+ exam and typing random thoughts.



Regards,
 

jayd265

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if we had one or both out of breaux/rankins for the first 6 games, i think we'd be 4-2 at worst. possibly 5-1.

they need to start looking at trainers for the pelicans and saints. i know some or fluke injuries (williams concussion being as bad as it was/broken legs for breaux and rankins) but having 2 of the most injured teams in 2 different sports being run by some of the same people, little coincidental right?
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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if we had one or both out of breaux/rankins for the first 6 games, i think we'd be 4-2 at worst. possibly 5-1.

they need to start looking at trainers for the pelicans and saints. i know some or fluke injuries (williams concussion being as bad as it was/broken legs for breaux and rankins) but having 2 of the most injured teams in 2 different sports being run by some of the same people, little coincidental right?

Coincidence or just bad luck..but either way it exposes a lack of depth. Resigning guys like Sterling Moore in the off-season is important because it keeps that middle class there should you experience key injuries. Again Tapp would be another guy I'd look to bring back. Kikaha would fall in that middle class even if healthy. Fairley if retained would be another middle class piece as are Robertson/Stupar who provide excellent depth but aren't really Starter types.

Those guys are identifying themselves as reliable pieces(outside of Kikaha) this year. BW Webb comes to mind as maybe a 5th CB that would be an upgrade over Trotting out Brian Dixon in a year if faced with extensive injuries.

Kruger has time to turn it on as He'd be someone I'd bring back at a decent rate that you could have along with Kikaha and then a draft pick at the RDE position.


I'm just looking at guys who are standing out as viable options. Obviously someone like John Jenkins can be allowed to walk, Relying on Ellerbe moving forward would be a waste of time, as is Byrd. Anthony's presence would do so much to shore up that LB corps but if he isn't able to develop we're looking at that being a huge problem spot in a year rather than a moderate one. Coverage against RB's has lacked all season and the only guy who's looked decent at it is Ellerbe when healthy. Robertson and some of the other guys don't have the wheels and Anthony doens't have the recognition yet.

We could use one other signature player on that Dline
 

insidejob

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if we had one or both out of breaux/rankins for the first 6 games, i think we'd be 4-2 at worst. possibly 5-1.

they need to start looking at trainers for the pelicans and saints. i know some or fluke injuries (williams concussion being as bad as it was/broken legs for breaux and rankins) but having 2 of the most injured teams in 2 different sports being run by some of the same people, little coincidental right?
How can the Saints and Pelicans share a training staff when the seasons overlap?

I doubt the Saints skip stretching before practice and games and doing all the same things in the weight rooms that all NFL teams do.

I'm just as frustrated as anyone with the decimation of our secondary to injuries, but I really think it's nothing more than really bad luck. If you look around the league, it isn't just us with an absurd amount of injuries, we just happened to be unfortunate enough to take the hit all in one position group and to two of our main defensive line starters.

I think it has more to do with the limited time in actual contact practice and the elimination of anything really football related in OTA's. These guys spend the whole off season training and keeping in shape so they're ready to play football when the preseason gets here, but they can barely practice in pads throughout camp, and then proceed to get injured when the pads come on.

It seems like the more the league tries to make the rules (and the players' union legislating lesser time in pads in practice) more protective of player health, the more injured players we end up with league wide.

It'd be interesting to see what the number of injuries pre-new CBA and post-new CBA look like.
 

Outbackjack

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Very good list and I agree with everyone listed.

No mention of Fairley- ???
No mention of Jenkins - Smart
No mention of Byrd- Smart
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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Very good list and I agree with everyone listed.

No mention of Fairley- ???
No mention of Jenkins - Smart
No mention of Byrd- Smart
Byrd gets left out because if you don't have to play a 3 safety set....you don't play it. Last week Vaccaro rattled off 4 positions he played at various times in the defense. SS, NB, WLB, SLB. In sub packages 2 of those roles lean more towards coverage, while the other two get to play on the LOS and attack. When he's playing over the slot and WLB he's being tasked with covering TE's, WR's and RB's at various times. If the ball doesn't go that route then his role is basically invisible...especially in man coverage. His range and ability to affect plays gets halted. One of those is a role(SLB) while the other 2 are starting positions(SS/WLB) while NB is basically a starter in todays NFL. WLB/NB we just need better players there so he doesn't have to play them. It's great that he can play those positions but he isn't being utilized as effectively as he could be when he has to be in those roles.

Fairley I want to keep but he's on such a short leash. He needs to be a role player thru and thru and allowed to attack. When asked to play within the defense he just doesn't do his job at times.

Jenkins get left out because base formations are shrinking more and more. I think we could get by with a UDFA (NT) on the practice squad that gets called up if an injury to Davison occurs. Meanwhile part of me wonders if Rankins can Kick over and play the NT for Davison on occasions with Fairley subbing in at 3tech and Onyemata rotating to keep them both fresh.
 

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WLB/NB we just need better players there so he doesn't have to play them. It's great that he can play those positions but he isn't being utilized as effectively as he could be when he has to be in those roles.
Im starting to question that thought.

How good can or defense be if our SS is always our SS, if our MIKE is always our MIKE, if our WILL is always the WILL, and our NB is always the NB.

If our defense is that easy to read pre-snap that may be a problem contributor.
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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Im starting to question that thought.

How good can or defense be if our SS is always our SS, if our MIKE is always our MIKE, if our WILL is always the WILL, and our NB is always the NB.

If our defense is that easy to read pre-snap that may be a problem contributor.
Vaccaro is having to play those roles out of necessity..not just wrinkles in the D. He's having to play Will in certain situations because we lack a good man cover option their. Same at NB due to the excessive amount of injuries and lack of quality DBs.

People are complaining about his lack of production but being in coverage and not playing downhill a lot isn't fully playing to his strengths. It's great he can play those roles but his tackling ability and aggressiveness down hill/to the ball is negated when he's in coverage a lot.
 

AshleyShaffer

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I think that's a good breakdown.

I think getting someone that's a "disruptor" on the D-line is the absolute key. Saints don't have a guy that "commands" attention and can exploit a good matchup. Rankins could be that guy at some point, but he's an unknown at this point.

It doesn't have to be a DE, just a guy that makes things happen. LaRoi Glover type of guy would do it too. Not sure they can count on Kikaha anymore than the guy you didn't mention.
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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Tried to do an updated more focused list of Notables

Stars - Vaccaro(SS), Jordan(LDE), Rankins(3Tech), Breaux(CB)

Starters - Davison(NT),Kruger(RDE),Bell(FS)

Role Players - Nick Fairly(DT), PJ Williams(NB), Robertson (LB)

Middle Class backups- Sterling Moore(CB), David Onyemata(DT), Stupar(LB), Harper(SS)

Backups Crawley(CB) Mauti(LB) BW Webb(CB) Erik Harris (FS)

Questionable's Kikaha(DE-Role) Anthony(LB-Starter) - Both have the chance to ascend to higher but that just the factual basis of where they would be Day 1 Next season bearing health IMHO.

Upgrades/Needs - WLB, #2CB, RDE - Even if Kikaha returns to health I wouldn't ask him to be more than a rotational guy coming off of his 3rd ACL injury. Ellerbe wasn't mentioned and its possible he could be kept but I'd still look to groom a young WLB. #2 CB depends on how the team feels about PJ Williams as possible #2. Personally i think he's got #2 potential but because he's only played in 2 games in 2 years he's going to go through growing pains that a D in our situation doesn't have the time to work through. Absolutely love his ability in edge run support and he played fairly decent in his limited action. However, he's just as much of a question mark in his ability to contribute as Kikaha/Anthony are going forward.

** Of Note** Anyone can ascend or descend. I do think that despite Rankins not having played a game I think the kid has star written all over him. If you want to place him in the starter category that's fine but those Top 2 Tier's are important no matter how you slice it. Also because we play an over front (likely the reason we chose the over front) all of the guys in the star category are on the Strong side of the formation. I don't think that's a coincidence as to how the defense was built/designed and likely played a role in why Rankins was the pick in the 1st.

One Final note is that PJ Williams could easily be placed in the questionable group but I don't see his issue as bad as 3 ACL Tears or Developmental/Football awareness issues. I think he could have returned later this year and the team was being extremely safe with him because he has good potential.
 

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I think that's a good breakdown.

I think getting someone that's a "disruptor" on the D-line is the absolute key. Saints don't have a guy that "commands" attention and can exploit a good matchup. Rankins could be that guy at some point, but he's an unknown at this point.

It doesn't have to be a DE, just a guy that makes things happen. LaRoi Glover type of guy would do it too. Not sure they can count on Kikaha anymore than the guy you didn't mention.
Not many guys have been able to come back from three ACLs. Don't think it would be smart to count on him. Don't give up on him, but don't expect anything either.
 
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ELLIASJWILLIAMS

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As far as FA's. Devin Taylor DE - Detroit seems like he'd be a good value signing as a RDE. He's got 3 or 4 sacks on the season depending on which stat site you look at but he's got the size to hold an edge in the run game at 6'7 266. I'd say signing him along with resigning Kruger and bringing Kikaha/Gwachum or Edebali back as your 4 DE's going into TC would be a good mix of youth runstopping/passrushing/Potential
 

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Let's hope Rankins fits into the top tier. But, through seven weeks, we have nothing to go from a pro-level. Too early to anoint him top tier. I think Robertson is a major player but he is playing out of position right now. And, if Kikaha can overcome his knee injuries, he is top tier - one of the only legit difference makers on D.
 

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