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Defense Was Better in 2010, But Team Knows Creating Turnovers a Key

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.

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3 Responses to “Defense Was Better in 2010, But Team Knows Creating Turnovers a Key”

  1. Rob says:

    The playoff loss is squarely on the defense but the 11-5 record good enough for only a wildcard is squarely on the offense. Yes, the defense had fewer turnovers but they had a whole lot more 3-and-outs. Two TDs scored against the offense in both the Arizona and Cleveland losses, and a missed chip shot field goal against the Falcons were the difference in the 2010 season from the 2009 season. Resting starters in Week 17 and 18 might have made a big difference.

    The defense can surely use some improvement but the offense was not up to Payton/Brees standards last year and that’s why they didn’t repeat.

  2. Rob says:

    By the way, where is the “gab” in Saints gab? 🙂

  3. Jonah says:

    I thought the offense was clearly not in sync during parts of the season, and I think your right Rob, it was the downfall, more so late in the season.

    Harper wasn’t the same player on defense, and the team could really use some playmakers such as a guy like DeMarcus Ware or Ed Reed. A game changer or two. It’s those special players that make a difference, and last year the Saints just didn’t have it on that side of the ball.

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