Coming off a Super Bowl-winning season, the Saints defense improved across the board in 2010.
They gave up 50 fewer yards per game, improving from 25th to 4th in total defense. Saints opponents had 10 fewer rushing yards per game, but the biggest leap was a pass defense that went from allowing 235.6 yards to 193.6 yards per game.
Two areas the Saints defense took a step back at were quarterback sacks (35 in 2009, 33 in 2010, though their Football Outsiders’ “Adjusted Sack Rate” remained the same) and takeaways, dropping from 39 in 2009 to just 25 last season. New Orleans Saints free safety Malcolm Jenkins thinks creating more turnovers is the key to dominance.
“I thought we played well last year,” Jenkins said according to Chris Abshire of The Times-Picayune. “We just didn’t force the turnovers like we did in the championship season. If we build on the statistical success we had from last year and add the turnovers to the mix, we could be a dominant defense.”
The Saints had a league-low nine interceptions last season, way down from the 26 they grabbed in 2009 and matching the production that sent safety Darren Sharper to another Pro Bowl.