Kristian: Now it's time for Saints football
Now that Drew Brees has inked his record breaking deal, it's down to football for the Saints. No more bounty stuff, no more 'when is Drew going to sign? It's X's, O's and Joes.
What is the biggest concern for the Saints headed into the 2012 season?
You could make the argument that not having Sean Payton is the chief concern for the team. While it's a legitimate one, it's not one that is on the top of my list.
"You’ve got to focus on what you can control, and that is what's out on the football field," NFL analyst Mike Detillier said.
What are we concerned about? Clearly it's the defense. The Saints brought in Steve Spagnuolo to run the defense after the Saints allowed Gregg Williams to walk to St. Louis. "You have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback, it's such a pass happy league," Detillier explained. How quickly Spaggs can get his new system in place will be imperative to the Saints success in 2012. He's not short on talent on the roster. "You have four first round picks on that defensive line - in Will Smith, Brodrick Bunkley, Sedrick Ellis and Cameron Jordan," said Detillier.
The Saints also revamped their line backing corps this offseason. The team brought Curtis Lofton over from Atlanta to lead the defense at middle linebacker. Lofton is a player that many thought was the best free agent linebacker on the open market. "He's a thumper in the middle," said Saints coach Joe Vitt. Lofton has average 100 tackles per season in four years with the Falcons. You can see he's a natural leader for this defense and Bobby Hebert compares him to a younger version of London Fletcher.
With the high flying Saints offense, the defense won't have to be "Dome Patrol" good, just good enough. If they can be in the top 15 in overall defense, the Saints are going to be extremely tough. "You know what you have in this offense, they're going to score a bunch of points," said Saints color analyst Hokie Gajan. The big factor is if they can capitalize on turnovers. Last year the Saints dropped 34 potential interceptions. Let me say that again, 34 potential interceptions! If they cashed in on half of those, that's a huge difference.
"If you can give Drew Brees a shorter field or a couple of extra possessions a game, he's going to make the defense pay with points," Detillier said.
Gone are the days of truly dominant defense's in the NFL. Sure you have some good ones in San Francisco, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh; however the NFL is about offense. Can you outscore you opponent, and not give up the big play on defense? The Saints have one of those needs met, now what will the defense look like?
I think you'll have the answer within the first four weeks. I think you will see improved play out of the Black and Gold defense this season.
Defense in the Dome with Drew Brees lighting up scoreboards... might just lead to a Saints Super Bowl in the Superdome.
Tags : Topics : Religion_Belief, SportsSocial : Religion_Belief, SportsLocations : Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. LouisPeople : Bobby Hebert, Brodrick Bunkley, Cameron Jordan, Curtis Lofton, Drew Brees, Gregg Williams, Hokie Gajan, Joe Vitt, Mike Detillier, Sean Payton, Sedrick Ellis, Steve Spagnuolo