The Saints have had a leaky defense for years, but the team has finally figured out how to fix it.
Article by Nick Oza-SmithThe New Orleans Saints have won five Super Bowls and won the NFL’s MVP award in six of the last seven seasons.
But the team hasn’t been as dominant in recent years, losing six of its past eight regular-season games.
The Saints are expected to have an even worse defense this season.
Now, a new study has revealed that the Saints are actually better equipped to handle the leaky defensive line than their offensive line was last season.
The study, conducted by the defensive line guru Dave Mott, found that the team’s 2015 unit ranked 14th in sacks, 10th in tackles for loss and 22nd in pressure.
In fact, only one other team in the NFL faced more pressure than the Saints last season, and it was New England.
The Saints ranked 22nd out of 32 teams in pass-rushing productivity last season; they also ranked 31st in total defense, with just three players who had more than 2,000 rushing yards (Dont’a Hightower, Lance Briggs and Justin Houston).
And despite ranking 22nd overall in pass protection, they ranked 25th in run defense and 32nd in pass coverage.
The study also showed that, with the exception of one player, each Saints’ defensive end, linebacker and defensive tackle were better suited to the scheme of the offense than their counterparts.
For instance, the Saints had the fourth-best defensive line efficiency in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus.
Their defensive tackle efficiency was the ninth-best in the league, while the linebackers were ranked first and second, respectively.
That is significant because, as Mott noted, this year’s Saints should be the best unit in the entire NFL.
So how does Mott make the case that the 2015 Saints defense could be better?
The most important factor, he explained, is the team is more balanced.
In his study, Mott identified two things: the personnel on the defensive side of the ball and the scheme.
The players on the outside look for the quarterback, but Mott found that that’s where the most successful pass-rushers are.
As a result, when the quarterback takes a read from the outside, he’ll typically go downfield, where a good player can get open.
Mott also identified a number of players on defense who can be disruptive, who can rush the passer and blitz.
That makes them better at getting open, but they’re also better at protecting the passer, Mampas said.
In his study of the 2015 NFL defense, Molls points to the players like New Orleans’ Dont’ay Henderson and New Orleans safety Cameron Jordan as examples of players who can disrupt the offense.
The defensive line can make a tackle or get to the quarterback without hesitation, and the secondary can stop a pass.
Molles said those players also help to keep the defense balanced by playing in a hybrid scheme.
For instance, in 2015 the Saints were ranked 25 in total pass-rush efficiency and 22th in pass defense.
But they also allowed the sixth-most rushing yards in the game, and they had the 10th-fewest sacks.
The team ranked 11th in rushing offense efficiency, but it allowed the most yards per game to opposing running backs.
So the Saints should have more than enough players who are going to be disruptive to the offense, Motta said.
The best defense is the best offense.
That’s the way to go.