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Defense carries New Orleans Saints through three weeks

The Saints defense hopes to continue their fast start to the season.

The Saints defense hopes to continue their fast start to the season.

The Saints have started 3-0 this season, but what does that really mean? Are they a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Are they just good enough to beat a few teams? Or are they just flat out lucky?

Resurgent defense

Under first-year coordinator Rob Ryan, there has been a truly remarkable turnaround in the defense, recently regarded as one of the worst in league history. The players seem to have responded to his scheme and style of play, something that never happened under Steve Spagnuolo. They are covering well, flying to the ball, and tackling much better. Rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro in particular has been a great addition. Moreover, they are getting consistent pressure from the front seven.

Yes, they are allowing 5.2 yards per carry on the ground, but they are getting stops when they need them. They’ve kept opposing offenses out of the end zone, surrendering only 38 points in that three-game span.

Before we get carried away, though, we do well to remember that this defense has yet to be truly tested. They have only played one good offense in the Atlanta Falcons, and even they are hobbled by injury. Their opponents are a combined 2-7 so far.

That is about to change. Their next three opponents — the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, and New England Patriots — are a combined 9-0.

Inconsistent offense

Coming into Week 3, the offense had been less than impressive, having scored just 37 points and just once on seven red-zone trips.

But they finally put it together against the Arizona Cardinals (1-2). Quarterback Drew Brees accounted for all four touchdowns in this game, more than doubling his season total and overcoming an interception.

Nevertheless, things could have gone much worse than the scoreboard might seem to have indicated.

The offense only rushed once in the first quarter, and their first three runs combined for -5 yards, although that way partly because injured offensive guard Jahri Evans was out and an undrafted rookie was playing in his place. Even so, it is time for the Mark Ingram experiment to end. The disappointing running back has only averaged 1.8 ypc thus far. Workhorse Pierre Thomas (4.8 ypc career average, 4.0 ypc on the year) and scat back Darren Sproles need to carry the ball the rest of the way.

Also, the offense seemed to stall in the second and third quarters, which is concerning.

State of the Saints

So what is the deal with the 2013 New Orleans Saints? Are they championship caliber — or are they just good enough to get by? It’s hard to get a feel for this Saints team, since they have faced one of the easiest schedules so far, but the answer seems to be somewhere in between. As they’re forced to run the gauntlet of currently undefeated teams, they will start to show their true colors.

Stay tuned for another state of the Saints assessment three weeks from now.

Current rankings

These numbers were current prior to kickoff of Monday Night Football.

  • Total offense: 5th
  • Passing: 3rd
  • Rushing: 23rd
  • Points per game: 15th
  • Total defense: 6th
  • Passing: 5th
  • Rushing: 20th
  • Points allowed per game: 5th
723 comments
FalconsFan0125
FalconsFan0125 moderator

Has anyone done a real intervention on someone? I have a very obese friend (he weighs around 350) Ive been trying to get him to think about his health without being too obtrusive or demanding. Ive been dropping hints, but they are not working. Im thinking it might be intervention time. lol

thenichels
thenichels

WTF?  I try to go to WCSN with Firefox and I'm redirected to a GoDaddy "buy this domain" page.

AndrewLeT
AndrewLeT

I just looked up some issues i'm having on webmd.  yup cancer. 

FalconsFan0125
FalconsFan0125 moderator

Rise Up, I meant Freeman is a FA after this year. No team would trade for him. 

Staffords Erect Nipples
Staffords Erect Nipples

The countdown has begun for Lions fans, we're hoping an 0-3 team doesn't win a game this year so we're not the only one.


JVince 11
JVince 11

the last arena football guy brought in to be a kick returner for green bay was Antonio Chatman who was actually a pro-bowler for GB...


not the worst idea in the world I suppose.

JVince 11
JVince 11

Isn't BJ Hill the former Badger running back? or was that PJ Hill?

Reggie/Agnew 2016
Reggie/Agnew 2016 moderator

So, it comes down to my or my brother.............

Reggie/Agnew 2016
Reggie/Agnew 2016 moderator

I'm on the edge of my seat to NOT comment on things relative to the BBAO!

FalconsFan0125
FalconsFan0125 moderator

Freeman would have to agree to sign with them before they pull the trigger. Thats the only was I see a trade. 

Reggie/Agnew 2016
Reggie/Agnew 2016 moderator

Yeah Prep weighs 14 tons but that's average for his size.