New Orleans Saints Look to Shore Up Defense This Season

The New Orleans Saints had one of the worst defenses in NFL history last season. This year, they brought in defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to shore up the secondary. Ryan’s defenses typically thrive on a fluid and chaotic approach that confuses opposing offenses, and typically works well when the defensive personnel are inexperienced or underqualified. Former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita says he likes the move for the Saints.

“I think if you kind of let Rob do his thing, he’s gonna mix it up every single down, personnel running on and off the field, trying to match all the changing personnel groups that we see from offenses throughout the NFL every week,” Fujita said in a story for NOLA.com. “That’s really Rob’s specialty. He recognizes tendencies. He stays up all night studying that kind of stuff.”

Ryan’s hard work and preparation make him an ideal fit with head coach Sean Payton, who is notoriously meticulous about the performance of his offense.

“I want our team to be the best prepared team we can be,” Ryan said. “You want to try and put our guys in the best situation we can be. And to me that takes a lot of film study. And that’s something I’ve always prided myself in, that I’m willing to work and whatever it takes. So I don’t have much of a social life after that.”

Payton was complimentary of Ryan’s defenses, noting that when he was the defensive coordinator for teams that the Saints were playing, he had to dedicate a lot of extra time into dealing with Ryan’s schemes.

“A lot of time and detail in covering how you handle each defensive look,” Payton said. “Typically, he will do a good job of trying to take away what he thinks you do well. And (you need to understand) that he’s going to pay attention to who is going to get the ball on third down, where you go in the red zone, what type of runs you want to run. And you just need to self-scout and make sure there are no heavy tendencies.”

Though Ryan’s defenses can reap dividends, they can also be complicated and demanding. However, Saints players say they’re up for the challenge.

“There is absolutely (a risk of trying to do too much). But as players, you have to take that responsibility,” Saints safety Jim Leonhard said. “You always hate being on a defense where you know you have weaknesses, and maybe they come out in a certain formation and you know what’s happening and you can’t stop it. But when you have a lot on your plate and you can make adjustments and get yourself out of bad situations, you love that as a player. Because you’re gonna make a team beat you. It does put a lot on the players, and you have to be locked in every play. But you like it that way. You’d rather have it that way.”

“We know we’re good and we’re confident, but we’re smart and we don’t mind sharing anything,” Ryan said. “When you have smart veteran players and they’re seeing things differently, they’re the ones on the field. I made one tackle in 16 years in this league. And that was (LaDanian Tomlinson) out of bounds because no one else would tackle him that day. I think the better teacher you are, the more input you can handle. I don’t have a damn dictatorship in my room. I just want it to look right on Sundays.”

Here are New Orleans Saints team props for this season, courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Will the New Orleans Saints make the playoffs? 

  • Yes                  -175
  • No                    +145

New Orleans Saints – 2013 Regular Season Win Total        

  • Over                            9 (-145)
  • Under                          9 (+115)
  • 100%