Perhaps Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was annoyed that the 49ers didn’t consider him for a head coaching job.
Whatever the motivation, Williams treated Week One of the preseason like it was Week One of the regular season. And the familiar-looking 49ers offense had no answer for New Orleans’ improved (on paper) defense.
Williams called 18 blitzes in the first half alone, resulting in five sacks and two forced fumbles against the 49ers starting offensive line. Safety Roman Harper and defensive end Will Smith both made big impacts early.
“Trust me, it surprised me, too, some of the calls he made early,” safety Roman Harper told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I enjoyed it. It definitely speeds up the process of the quarterback.”
The Saints won 24-3 on the strength on defense, running, special teams, and their deep reserves. Perhaps Williams wanted to send a message this Saints team has a different identity.
One thing worth remembering for any player getting killed off one preseason game: Drew Brees didn’t have a first down in three drives. These games only tell us so much.