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Spagnuolo thinks Saints defense is getting better

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The best move any member of the Saints defense has made all season happened yesterday, when coordinator Steve Spagnuolo showed good anticipation and burst when he started diving on grenades.

He normally talks on Fridays, but moved his availability up four days to take the brunt of the criticism away from his players who have given up the most yards (922) and second-most points (75) in the league.

I don’t think we’re that far off,” Spagnuolo said, via Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “If you get stuck on stats, you’re going to say I’m full of baloney. But I believe it.”

The stats would suggest he’s full of something stronger than Oscar Mayer.

They’ve given up seven touchdown drives of 57 yards or longer. They’ve created one turnover, that an awkward fourth-down pitch by Cam Newton Sunday which was more of a screw-up by the Panthers quarterback than anything they did.

They’ve looked lost against Robert Griffin III and Newton, and maybe they’re taking longer than expected to adjust to Spagnuolo’s scheme.

But the problem looks a lot simpler than that.

They don’t have many better-than-average players.

When Spagnuolo became successful in New York, he had a room full of pass-rushers. The Saints lack those, and don’t have impact players on the back side either.

“Our defense is going to get good,” interim head coach Aaron Kromer said, perhaps after tailgating with Brian Stropolo. “They are going to continue to improve. They are going to continue to have more knowledge of what they are doing and play fast and faster and faster. We are in an upwards slope [right now].”

When you start at rock bottom, it’s the only direction you can go.

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5 Responses to “Spagnuolo thinks Saints defense is getting better”
  1. eventhorizon04 says: Sep 18, 2012 10:08 AM

    Saints defense was incredibly dependent on turnovers to get off the field in 2009.

    Since then, they haven’t been as lucky getting interceptions and fumbles, and unsurprisingly, they’ve looked worse.

    The article is right – the issue is lack of quality personnel on defense who can win individual matchups every snap.

  2. ghlatty says: Sep 18, 2012 11:24 AM

    Wait, Mike Zimmer isn’t happy with his defense and Spags thinks the Saints’ are not that far off??? I think I’ve just scratched a new bald spot on my head.

  3. Mikey says: Sep 18, 2012 11:29 AM

    @ eventhorizono

    Couldn’t agree more, and I’m a Saints fan.

    Coaches put players in situations where they think the players can most succeed. It’s up to the PLAYERS to make plays. In 2009, the saints had a difference-making, game-changing playmaker on defense in Darren Sharper. He caused havoc, created turnovers, and even scored some defensive points. The Saints were decisively outplayed in the NFC Championship game, but were able to win that game by turning the Vikings over in bunches.

    Since Sharper’s urgery in 2010 after the Saints won the SB, the Saints D has not been the same. In their last two playoff losses, the Saints scored 30+ points in both contests. One reason for this is a lack of defensive playmakers.

    Now, I agree with Spagnoulo in a general sense. I believe that his defense is getting better, and that he will get the most out of his personnel. Right now the Saints are 11 individuals on defense. I think they can mesh into a team sometime during the season. The cold, hard truth is this; given the Saints defensive personnel, their “most” just isn’t very much.

    DT Sedrick Ellis has 12.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 4+ seasons, which is horrible for a 1st round pick. Will Smith is old and fat. Their secondary couldn’t catch VD in thailand, much less a football. Their leading sack guy over the last 3 seasons has been their strong safety. Not exactly the recipe for success.

  4. neovenator250 says: Sep 18, 2012 11:49 AM

    Its not for lack of trying either. Saints defense is littered with former 1st round picks. They just never seem to get an elite threat out of it

  5. mrpowers88 says: Sep 18, 2012 6:48 PM

    @Mikey

    I applaud you on your acceptance of criticism of your team. I’ve said the exact same thing to groups of Saints fans and they only reply “DREW BREEEESSS!!!” or some nonsense about winning the Super Bowl just to spite Goodell (without really offering any supporting arguments)

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