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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com

Deke: Up next for Saints defense - Who stays and who goes!

In a very quick fashion, Coach Sean Payton has made new hires, let the fans know that last season was unacceptable and has changed the scheme of his Black and Gold defense.  So as the work continues behind closed doors out on Airline Drive, fans want to know (and chime in on) which players will remain with the team and which players will be moving on!

Now you know how when a new coach comes in and says that “all jobs are open”… well, I’m not sure if that is the case here, or in the NFL for that matter.  You see, you have to be realistic and it is impossible for a team to replace all of their players if they are unhappy with their production.  But there can be major changes.

Fans have called in to our show and questioned the value of players like Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, and Sedrick Ellis, to name a few.  Now we will find out if there are new players needed, or if Coach Ryan can bring out the best in most of the players the Saints currently have on their roster.  

In 2012 the Saints defense became the first to open their own club as they are the first and only defense to allow over 7,000 yards this season.  They finished the season by allowing a total of 7,042 yards, a league record.  
I know that former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo deserves a lot of the blame due to play of the defense.  But the players have to shoulder a big load of the way they played also.  The majority of the performances given by the Saints defense were flat-out embarrassing a season ago.  

During the 2012 season, three players would be named the offensive player of the week for their performance against the Black and Gold Defense.  In fact, three of the first four weeks of the season an opposing player picked up “player of the week” honors after lighting up the Saints defense.  

From RG3 to Jamaal Charles to Aaron Rodgers, when big-time players faced the Saints defense, they went off!  I’m not going to sit here and tell you who should stay and who should go, but I will tell you that if we think that if coach Rob Ryan is going to turn the Saints defense around, he will need to bring in some new faces to help.  

The Saints gave up 400 or more yards in 12 of their 16 games and the Saints allowed 500 or more yards in four games this season as well.  The Big Easy title was ever so right when it came to the Saints Defense as it was easy for opposing offensive units to gain yards against the Saints during the 2012 season.  It was not until the Saints eleventh game of the season that they held an opponent under the 400 yard mark and that came in a 31-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the dome Thanksgiving Weekend.

The Saints gave up 500 or more yards in four games this season and the Saints allowed on average 440.1 yards per game in 2012.  The D-Line failed to get pressure on opposing QB’s at a consistent rate.  The linebackers were a disappointment after bringing in several new players at the position a year ago including Curtis Lofton and the defensive backfield was once again torched more often than not.  

The Black & Gold gave up a total of 454 points last season.  The points allowed is an average of 28.4 points per game which is a franchise record of total points allowed, as well as points allowed per game, in a single season.

The Saints allowed 30 or more points in seven games last season and the New York Giants scored 52 points in a 52-27 win over New Orleans.  The loss to the New York Giants marked just the fourth time in franchise history the Saints allowed 50 or more points in a game and the first time in the Sean Payton era the Saints allowed that many points.

And just when we thought the Saints defense had given us their worst effort of the season, the Saints allowed 44 points and 530 yards of offense in their blowout loss to the Panthers.  If the Panthers had not taken a knee at the end of the game they would have gained more than the 530 yards which tied a season-high allowed by the Saints last season.  

That outing against Carolina had to be the final straw for Coach Sean Payton when deciding about the future of the defense.  I mean, if Coach Payton had any reservations about what to do with Coach Spags, it was clear a change was needed and a new coordinator had to be hired.

Now, determining which players will stay with the team is being done and for those players that have high price tags and low production, they should be a little worried, to say the least.  It’s time our defense gave us more and it’s time to get some new faces to help.  

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Topics : Religion_BeliefSports
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Locations : New Orleans
People : Aaron RodgersCurtis LoftonJamaal CharlesJonathan VilmaMalcolm JenkinsRob RyanRoman HarperSean PaytonSedrick EllisSteve SpagnuoloWill Smith

02/13/2013 5:23PM
Deke: Up next for Saints defense - Who stays and who goes!
Please Enter Your Comments Below
02/15/2013 5:15PM
Defencse change needed
I agree and Patrick Robinson allowed so many touchdowns last year, he needs to be the FIRST one gone! JMHO!
02/18/2013 5:49AM
Who has to go?
Deke, I was hoping you would break down the players more in this article, the title suggest that.
02/18/2013 11:43AM
Rod Guidry in Sacramento
I think some of the players did not play their best efforts, some may have to do withe Spag some with the fact that Sean Payton was not around. But, it may cost some of them their jobs with the Saints and miss out on a Superbowl win.
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