Can the Saints Defense Pick Up the Slack in 2008?


For the past several years the Saints defense has been the point of most concern…A far cry from the 90’s when the defense was so dominant. For the most part, the offense has carried the team the past two years and was not able to overcome all the big plays the defense allowed throughout the ‘07 season. Some feel this was largely due to the early losses of Deuce McAllister and Mark Campbell (two significant pieces of our run success in 2006). Regardless if this was the case or not, the Defense has to step up in 08.

A lot of speculation has occurred on whether the free agency and draft moves this year were enough to take our defense from the depths. I personally am an optimist, and believe that the defense will be much better this year; and possibly win us some games instead of lose them for us. I compiled a list of things that I think would definitely help our defense out this year.

1. Charles Grant and Will Smith must play up to their contracts.
2. Whoever wins the weakside linebacker spot just needs to keep up with the other studs Fujita and Vilma.
3. Someone needs to step up and play well as a solid number two corner.
4. Josh Bullocks needs to be the centerfielder he was known as at Nebraska in 2004.

Now before you jump to conclusions, let me explain the list.

Charles Grant and Will Smith are great DE’s and I believe they have the skill to be one of the top tandems in the league, if not the best. The only problem is now that they have the fat contracts, will they have the drive to be great. Last year, Grant showed signs of complacency by playing at a heavier weight; however, has come back a little thinner this year. With the addition of top draft pick Sedrick Ellis, I believe they will be hungry and not want to be shown up by the “rookie”.

The player that wins the weakside linebacker spot will not have the spotlight on him, but will need to be a key contributor. As the “Dome Patrol” showed, a superior linebacking corp can really dictate what an offense does. This could give Sean Payton and Gary Gibbs more options to be creative with the play calling, which most people feel is their strong point. So if someone can step up and play well at linebacker, we could be in for a real treat.

Whether it’s Jason David, Tracy Porter, Randall Gay or Usama Young, we need a long term answer for the #2 starting corner. I didn’t forget about Aaron Glen, but he is not a long term answer for our secondary. Aaron should be key in bringing the knowledge and experience it takes to groom young talent at the corner position. Only time will tell who will win the number two spot, but I hope that it’s whoever plays the best. Some say Jason David is currently the starter, but I believe that it will be tough spot for him to hold onto with other talented young corners breathing down his neck. If he does well during camp, Porter is poised to steal the number two spot from David. If Porter can somehow break through as a rookie and if McKenzie can come back 100% from injury, then we will be in great shape at the corner position.

Josh Bullocks came out of Nebraska known for his ability to cover the field. However as a Saint, his strength has been his tackling. Unfortunately, he has been noticeably weak on his play recognition and ability to be in the right place at the right time. It’s not that Bullocks does not have the talent to be a solid Free Safety, the question is if he can learn to be one.

In my opinion, if these four things happen, our defense will be poised to be in the top half of the league if not better. My hope is that with an improved defense, we will have the balance needed to make a run to the playoffs, if not to the Superbowl!

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One Response to “Can the Saints Defense Pick Up the Slack in 2008?”

  1. Clark Derbigny, Sr. says:


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