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2009 the Dawn of a New “D”

Over the last few years we have had to watch while our beloved Saints D struggled and played inconsistent, they got run or passed on all while making us grimace, cuss at the TV and need an extra amount alcohol and pepto.

That day has passed and 2009 will be a dawn of the new D. The most important move was the first to happen Gary Gibbs was let go and we got Greg Williams. Williams brings an aggressiveness that we haven’t seen since the Dome Patrol days. Williams will also bring a swagger and attitude to the D we haven’t seen in a long time along with defensive packages to keep opposing offenses on their heels.

The Saints didn’t stop at the defensive coordinator; Williams came in and with Payton started the overhaul. On the defensive line we brought back Rob Ninckovich and signed vets Paul Spicer and Rod Coleman. Gone are Antwaan Lake, the oft-injured Brian Young and the oft-overweight Hollis Thomas.

Look for Defensive Ends Will Smith and Charles Grant to get back to their pre Gibbs form under Williams and with Bobby McCray as our pass rush specialist, Paul Spicer who reminds me a lot of former Saints Willie Whitehead, Jeff Charleston and Ninckovich, we have good depth.

Defensive Tackle will be manned by Sedrick Ellis and Kendrick Clancy and the backups will be veteran Rod Coleman and the promising DeMario Pressley. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints look for a big space eating NT if one becomes available with the June cuts coming up.

The linebacking corp has seen an infusion of new blood too, but the most important thing happened when the Saints locked Jonathan Vilma to a long-term deal. Dan Morgan is back from retirement and 100% healthy and looks to be the starter at WLB, the Saints have also signed a young promising LB in Anthony Waters who has struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, if Morgan and Waters can stay healthy they will provide a significant upgrade for us.

Then in the draft the Saints picked up Stanley Arneaux in the 4th round and Jonathan Casillas who was rated as high as a 4th round prospect as an undrafted rookie. JoLonn Dunbar is developing into a solid backup and is already a special teams star. Throw into to the mix returning starters Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle along with returning vets Mark Simoneau, Marvin Mitchell and Troy Evans, gives a lot of competition which brings out the best in most people.

Now to the most maligned part of our defense the past few years the secondary, watching them get burned game after game was the most frustrating part of watching them. Amazing how things can change rather quickly, gone are Kevin Kaesviharn and Josh Bullocks at free safety and in is Darren Sharper the NFL active leader in interceptions, Pierson Piroleau along with our 4th round pick Chip Vaughn and Usama Young who is being converted switched from cornerback.

Now add in two new cornerbacks Jabari Greer who is a free agent signed away from Buffalo and 1st round pick Malcolm Jenkins to go along with Tracy Porter, Randall Gay and Leigh Torrence. The Saints finally appear to have a solid secondary.

Sharper was brought in to provide leadership and help mentor the younger guys along with bring a playmaker to the free safety spot. Piroleau looks to be more of an insurance signing and could become expendable with Vaughn and Young also manning the FS spot.

Roman Harper is still holding down the strong safety spot and we should see his play take a huge step forward and his backup is Chris Reis. The wildcard could be Jonathan Casillas he could be moved to strong safety because of his athleticism and make Reis expendable.

The 2009 defense looks to be the best we have seen since the dome patrol days. Saints fans rejoice the old D is gone and a new D is on the horizon.

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