Can The Defense Improve For This Year? Sunday, Oct 2 2011
The New Orleans Saints have given fans reason to cheer with a dynamic offense that continues to play at a high level. However, in the Saints most recent loss to the Green Bay Packers, no one was discussing the 34 points of offense put on the scoreboard. Instead, the concerns lied squarely on the play of the defense. For the second game in a row dating back to last season, the Saints gave up more than 40 points in a single game. The 42 points scored by the Packers were the most points given up by a Sean Payton-led team since his arrival.
Can the defense still improve for the remainder of this year? There is no reason to think it can-t. Many people tend to go extreme levels after the first game of the year, either claiming their team is Super Bowl bound or else deserves to be thrown to the dogs. In this case, the Saints biggest problem in the game against Green Bay was poor tackling and allowing tight ends to get down the field and open for Aaron Rodgers to locate them with ease. These same concerns have been present since last season’s loss to Seattle in the playoffs and among the preseason effort this fall.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will need to straighten out the shoddy tackling and also force the opponent’s tight ends to struggle to get off the line. While giving up 399 total yards, success on 8 of 12 third down plays, and 4 for 4 in the red zone are horrid stats to comprehend, players know with improved technique and the desire to improve, the results are not far off.
The defense can certainly improve. The first game is not indicative of how the rest of the season will go; in fact, many players feed off the negativity from the game and channel that anger into better performances. This leads to better defensive team play and more wins. Better overall performances from the entire defense needs to be part of the game plan moving forward. While the offense shows no signs of slowing down, this team will go only as far as the defense allows.