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What Seattle’s dominance should mean for the Saints...
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whodatworm23


Joined: 23 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:18 am    Post subject: What Seattle’s dominance should mean for the Saints... Reply with quote



Once again… Defense wins championships!

First and foremost, Kudos to the Seattle Seahawks defense! While Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense played a great game, Seattle’s defense made their mark in NFL history as perhaps the best single season defensive unit of all time. As we all know, this is a copycat league and the Seahawks defense is surly to be directed and studied over the next offseason as teams will undoubtedly try to imitate certain looks that the Seahawks showed throughout this season that made them so successful and the Saints will be no exceptions.

The tide is turning across the landscape of the NFL as over the last few seasons it’s been the dominate defenses that has not only won the championship but also boosted many of the top teams in the NFL. This past season the Saints finished in the top 5 of the NFL in total defense after only one season under Rob Ryan and showed that this unit isn’t far away from joining the rest of the elite defenses in the NFL at the top but they aren’t there yet.

So what stood out to me about Seattle’s dominate defense this season?

First of all… Youth!

Across the board, this Seattle defense went away from the norm of most NFL clubs as almost every one of their players are considerably young proving that the old adage of holding onto expensive veterans for continuity and leadership could very well be overrated and more of a deterrent in todays NFL. The Saints themselves saw the unexpected rise of their defense this season as the outcome of an unplanned youth movement. After older veterans like Will Smith, Jon VIlma, Rod Coleman, etc. were lost this offseason the Saints were forced to play much younger players on defense and the result was inspiring and the leader of that group (Cameron Jordan) said it best when he commented that the infusion of youth has brought an extreme sense of Entergy that had been lacking in years past. I now look back on last night’s performance by Seattle’s defense and I think back to those words by Cameron Jordan and that is one of the biggest things that stood out to me. Seattle was clearly younger, faster and played with much more Entergy last night than any other unit on the field. The Saints began their youth movement unexpectedly last season and saw a meteoric rise in production defensively and they must continue that trend this offseason and continue to improve and already much improved young defensive unit. Seattle has now set the standard and it is up to the powers that be in the Saints organization to strive towards that goal.

The other thing that stood out ot me about Seattle’s defense this year was their personnel and the way they were utilized. Their ability to get pressure with only four players (from the front seven) is maybe the most underrated aspect of this unit but their defensive secondary is the key to what they do and each member of that secondary has a specific role and they work together as a unit to succeed. I also find that the Saints aren’t very far away from having a poor man’s version of what Seattle possesses on the back end of their defense.

SS Kam Chancellor was an intimidator and enforcer from the get go and constantly set the tone throughout the season for this defense. Now many will automatically feel that Saints safety Rafael Bush could fill this role but for me, Kenny Vaccaro’s game is very similar to that of Chancellor. Vaccaro also is an enforcer who isn’t afraid to bring the wood but also provides excellent coverage, tackling ability and instincts similar to Chancellor. FS Earl Thomas is the best in the game and despite his smaller stature he gets the most out of his physical tools very similar to current FSU defensive back and possible Saints draft target Lemarcus Joyner.

On the corner for the Seahawks it all starts with all-pro but brash defender Richard Sherman and in my opinion, Saints own Kennan Lewis is every bit the corner that Sherman is. Now I’m not saying that Lewis is better but what I am saying is that their skill set is very similar and Lewis has proven this season that he himself is also a lock down defender with untapped potential as a press corner. The corner position opposite of Lewis is the glaring weakness in the Saints secondary but they might only have to look to the Super Bowl champs to fill that void. Seattle corner Walter Thurmond is a young athletic defender with the experience of playing in that vaunted Seattle secondary who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason who the Saints could very well target to fill their biggest weakness on their young defense and allow players like Corey White and Patrick Robinson to play more suitable reserve roles that better fit their ability.

So as you can see, I am fully on the “let’s build a dominate defense” train in New Orleans right now and that clearly begins in the defensive secondary. No NFL team will be who the Seahawks are but most of them will strive to be similar. For me that begins with finding the players to play the roles in our secondary that would allow us to immatiate what Seattle does. They are a very sound and disciplined unit who makes very little mistakes and are the most sure tackling group I’ve seen in years. You can’t have a secondary like Seattle when you have a player like Malcolm Jenkins in your back end! The Saints are close… Keenan Lewis & Kenny Vaccaro are studs and White and Robinson provide depth but were still lacking our Earl Thomas and our Walter Thurmond but if the Saints make the right moves in free agency this offseason, both those positions can be filled.

The middle of Seattles defense, the Linebacker position is maybe their biggest weakness but it’s still a strength when compared across the landscape of the NFL. They possess athletic linebackers with length and speed on the outside and it’s becoming clear why the Saints and Rob Ryan are so smitten with FSU defender Christian Jones who could provide the Saints with a player similar to what the Seahawks have on the edge in Seattle. On the inside, Bobby Wagner is a very athletic Mike backer but I feel the Saints are set with Curtis Lofton at this position. While Wagner offers more in terms of coverage ability, Lofton is clearly the better run defender.

Now we come to the front seven and this is where the Saints and Seahawks will field two differently looking units but still come to the same type of production. Seattle is built to play a 4 man smaller front and deliver quick pressure to the opposing quarterback while the Saints field a multi look defensive front but the goal is still the same. Our front line is currently the strength of our defense with surging super star Cameron Jordan and developing quality players like Galette, Hicks and Jenkins. I feel the Saints need to add one more young pass rusher to the mix but this unit is clearly well underway as one to something to be reckoned with in the future.

So, looking forward the Seattle Seahawks like the Ravens and 49ers before them have laid the foundation of what the NFL is now. High flying offenses are sweet and sell tickets by winning a lot of regular season games but once the playoffs begin, the teams with the more physically dominate defenses will rise to the top and eventually hoist the Lombardi trophy so if you don’t have one… you better get busy building one!



WHODAT!!!
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FLOODx


Joined: 26 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watching the game last night changed my views on our first round needs. I strictly wanted a CB or WR in the first, but now I wouldn't be opposed to taking the best pass rushing DL or Ball Hawking FS either. Earl Thomas is the glue of their defense, and if we had someone similar to him roaming the middle of the field it would improve our defense a bunch. CB is still our biggest need and Seattle has no shortage on corners. We'll need to bring in a number 2 or at least being in some competition/depth for Corey White. The biggest difference in Seattle's D and ours besides the outstanding Safety play is their speed and athleticism. Screen passes simply don't work against the Seahawks because of the speed their LBs possess. A feared sideline to sideline ILB in the mold of a Navorro Bowman, Bobby Wagner, Daryl Washington, or Luke Kuechly would put our defense over the top. Scouting Combine in less than 3 weeks, free agency in about 5 or so.. I'm ready to get this offseason started. Who dat!
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whodatworm23


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FLOODx wrote:
Watching the game last night changed my views on our first round needs. I strictly wanted a CB or WR in the first, but now I wouldn't be opposed to taking the best pass rushing DL or Ball Hawking FS either. Earl Thomas is the glue of their defense, and if we had someone similar to him roaming the middle of the field it would improve our defense a bunch. CB is still our biggest need and Seattle has no shortage on corners. We'll need to bring in a number 2 or at least being in some competition/depth for Corey White. The biggest difference in Seattle's D and ours besides the outstanding Safety play is their speed and athleticism. Screen passes simply don't work against the Seahawks because of the speed their LBs possess. A feared sideline to sideline ILB in the mold of a Navorro Bowman, Bobby Wagner, Daryl Washington, or Luke Kuechly would put our defense over the top. Scouting Combine in less than 3 weeks, free agency in about 5 or so.. I'm ready to get this offseason started. Who dat!


Agreed... watching that game, a few players jump out to me from this draft. We are in an age of the NFL today where we need to start looking past the idea that players are restricted to certain schemes simply because of their physical stature. I have been guilty of this in the past and the Seahawks have been the best over the last few seasons of simply adding great players regardless of their short comings height, weight and speed wise.

The players that jump out to me are Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shaizer, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Florida State hybrid DB Lemarcus Joyner & Auburn DE/OLB Dee Ford.

I liken each one of these players to key members of that vaunted Seahawks defense...

Joyner to Earl Thomas
Shaizer to Bobby Wagner
Donald to Brandon Mebane
Ford to Bruce Irvin

Time to move past the idea that certain players can only succeed in certain schemes... I think Raves, Harp & Flood would agree with me on this.
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unfsaint


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We won the Super Bowl in 2009 and can win it again in 2014. The reason why we won the championship in 2009 was NOT our defense. Sure...they were opportunistic...but otherwise they were an average/above average squad. However, our offense was elite...and most importantly of all...WE GOT THE #1 SEED.

I think that the Saints could have won it this season if we had the #1 seed. It's a significant reason why the Seahawks won it this year.

So how do we get the #1 seed? We do it by continuing home dominance and finding a way to get better on the road. A commitment to a running game...and continuing to improve the running game. We need to find a fast twitch playmaker on offense/special teams who can give us a shorter field to play with on offense. We need a PLAYMAKER on defense. Vaccaro was very good last year...but he did not cause a ton of turnovers. Lewis is a solid CB...but he isn't a ballhawk. I strongly believe that we need a FS who can be an elite centerfielder...and a LB who forces fumbles and collects INTs.
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FLOODx


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with you Worm. With the multiple fronts and exotic looks Rob Ryan brings to the table we are no longer handcuffed to a scheme. With Williams and Spags we had no choice. I like all the guys you named. I'll be happy with BPA whether it's a WR or a defensive player. In reply to unfsaint's comment about the #1 seed, you get the #1 seed by winning games that you're supposed to. The Pats and Panthers games were ours to close out and we couldn't do it. That gives us 13 wins, and we had no business losing to the Rams. This team wasn't a 14 win team, but it very well could've been. Sad when you think about it.
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Fray32


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obviously this isn't the outcome of the superbowl if you played it 100 different times, but watching that game last night was at least, encouraging to me. In a playoff setting in Seattle, we played the Seahawks really tough. Seattle is actually one of those superbowl champions that actually feels like the best team in the league (which doesn't happen as often as you'd think *Ravens* *Giants*) and we hung with them every step of the way when we played them in their house with the nfc championship on the line. I feel good about this team right now and hopefully we take the next step next year.
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whodatworm23


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

unfsaint wrote:
We won the Super Bowl in 2009 and can win it again in 2014. The reason why we won the championship in 2009 was NOT our defense. Sure...they were opportunistic...but otherwise they were an average/above average squad. However, our offense was elite...and most importantly of all...WE GOT THE #1 SEED.

I think that the Saints could have won it this season if we had the #1 seed. It's a significant reason why the Seahawks won it this year.

So how do we get the #1 seed? We do it by continuing home dominance and finding a way to get better on the road. A commitment to a running game...and continuing to improve the running game. We need to find a fast twitch playmaker on offense/special teams who can give us a shorter field to play with on offense. We need a PLAYMAKER on defense. Vaccaro was very good last year...but he did not cause a ton of turnovers. Lewis is a solid CB...but he isn't a ballhawk. I strongly believe that we need a FS who can be an elite centerfielder...and a LB who forces fumbles and collects INTs.


Let me tell you what I remember about the 2009 season... The Saints coasted to the #1 seed in the NFC by way of a prolific high scoring offense and a opportunistic defense under 1st year DC Greg Williams.

Once the playoffs began the Saints sealed wins in the NFC championship game and Superbowl by way of big defensive and special teams plays and a absurd hot streak by kicker Garrett Hartley.

Those two games, the Saints were solid on offense but nothing spectacular. Yes, the offensive unit got them to the post season but had it not been for the play of the special teams and defense, Sean Payton and Drew Brees would not have those rings that they treasure. The Saints had a prolific offense since the day Sean Payton was hired in the Big Easy but could not get over the hump until he found a counterpart on defense. Now his offensive skill players are getting older and the game has a new outlook.

Like it or not but the Seahawks are the standard now and the Broncos had the most prolific offense in NFL history this season and scored 8 points in the superbowl. If we want to beat Seattle either in Seattle or New Orleans it won't be by offense, were going to have to beat them at their own game and build an equally elite defense that can measure up like the 49ers have.
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101stSaintsFan


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seattle's defense showed me a few things both in our meeting with them and in the superbowl. For one: they are beatable. You have to commit to the run game, if they had an achilles heel it would be on crossing routes through the middle of the field and you can't turn the ball over on them. They play the flats very well, they don't give up the deep ball and they can pressure ANY qb behind ANY line. You just have to outsmart them and play mistake free football.
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Raves


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think you need an elite Seahawks caliber defense, but a strong defense, with an offense with multiple points of attack so that other strong defenses just can't focus on one aspect or another.

Seattle attacked Denver with multiple receiving options and a strong running game. What we lacked against Seattle was the multiple wide receiver sets that makes it hard for Seattle to shut down one or two threats. Our defense was more than good enough to beat Seattle, our offense just let us down.

So yes, we could use some help on defense, but our offense could use a definite infusion of youth and explosiveness it's lacking.
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Canadian Saint


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it highlight how important a strong team which can cover is.

With guys like Wagner, KJ Wright + their secondary who can cover, it really helped them silence a really formidable receiving core.

I think trying to keep Parys Haralson and drafting Christian Jones would help this aspect in our LB corps. Haralson has shown the ability to cover and Jones can do everything, but is without a position. He could step in for Lofton on passing downs for us at the very least.

I honestly think a FS like Joyner is very much needed. I'm with you Worm, Vaccaro is our Chancellor in my opinion. We need an Earl Thomas. Joyner has every ability except being tall to play a role like Joyner.

I wouldn't mind trying to get someone opposite Lewis in the 2nd like Kyle Fuller (who I think will drop). Fuller is big and plays press man quite well, I just don't think he'll grade out too well in the combine, but I think he can be a top CB available.

Lastly, I wouldn't be absolutely against taking a SJB from Nebraska aswell for development purposes. Robinson may not be back after next year, having a guy like SJB ready to step in could be really useful for us.

With regards to the offense, I'd like to think someone will drop to the 3rd with a fairly deep WR class. I'd also go to FA and try to get a vet too. There is lots of options, and we don't need much to make players really effective.
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krewebrees


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or strength is definitely our defense now. Or offense lost us more games than the D this year and we didn't win any games relaying only on our offense. And I agree with the approach of trying to make this D top tier for 2 reasons 1. That's how you win in the post season and 2. Our offense is aging an investment here may only be. A good investment for 3 more years.

Where I agree that Joyner would be a good pick, I would take more of a BPA approach which may lead to Joyner anyway. Most people are arguing that our top needs are CB, FS, and WR. I see CB and FS with the same out come. Get a CB we have Vaccaro, Bush, Lewis, CB, and White (nickel). Get a FS we have Vaccaro, FS, Lewis, White, Bush (nickel).

As for a WR, I did mention above investing our D because of the longevity of the group. But as teams started finding out at the end of the season if Graham is shut down we couldn't move the ball. Hopefully the running game in the post season rolls over to next season and this can change. Any way this is a win now league and with Brees only having 3 years left. I don't want to miss out on another Super Bowl because Drew doesn't have anyone else to throw to when one player is triple teamed. To me that's more frustrating.

So I say we need both a WR and a CB/FS. The question is which one can we wait to get. Kind of a pass on the more depth still left option.
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Harper41


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm all aboard the Aaron Donald at 27 train, thats all I know.
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whodatworm23


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harper41 wrote:
I'm all aboard the Aaron Donald at 27 train, thats all I know.


Harp... I doubt he makes it past either Chicago or Dallas, Laughing but if he's there at 27 he must be a consideration!
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Harper41


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

whodatworm23 wrote:
Harper41 wrote:
I'm all aboard the Aaron Donald at 27 train, thats all I know.


Harp... I doubt he makes it past either Chicago or Dallas, Laughing but if he's there at 27 he must be a consideration!

His height will scare people away. The guy is Geno Atkins 2.0 though, I'd be ecstatic if he fell to us at 27. Him and Hicks pressuring the inside with Jordan and Galette coming off the edge? We would have an argument for best DL in the league no question.
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Raves


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it really needs to depend on our offseason. If we get a DB in FA then we should really look at WR in the 1st round, if we get a WR in the first round, then a defensive player should be a priority in the 1st round. If we get both then we should just go BPA...

But I really think that unless we pick up a true #2 or better WR in FA, we need to pick up a 1st round WR and possibly another by the 4th round...
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