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Saints paying for bad defensive picks
Big improvements needed to even get to 10-win mark
Mike Detillier -   Sep 20, 2012

A few weeks back I wrote that the New Orleans Saints were an 11-5 team and capable of advancing in the playoff round of the NFL.

Today, and it is just a two week look into the football microscope, I really canít see this team winning 11 games. To be honest, they will have to make huge improvements across the board to get to the 10-win mark.

I am not jumping off the "Who Dat Nation" ship, but I have seen football reality the last two weeks and it is apparent the team is struggling to find an innovative offense. On defense, they canít stop anyone.

The last two weeks the Saints have given up 75 points to a rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III and a talented young quarterback in Cam Newton, who had struggled mightily the week before in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

They are not just giving up huge plays via the air, but they are also getting gashed in the running game and have given up over 920 yards of total offense to the Redskins and Panthers.

It is not a case of a new scheme defensively, but the players running the new scheme. For all the hoopla about former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, it is obvious Steve Spagnuoloís system (which is predicated upon getting pressure with mainly the front four) does not have the football horses in the stable to play the sort of scheme that Spagnuolo was noted for in New York with the Giants.

He does not have a Michael Strahan, or a Justin Tuck or an Osi Umenyiora on this team today. Despite the Saints having four former first round draft picks along the starting defensive line, they have only recorded two quarterback sacks and have given up over 350 yards rushing.

And the secondary is not making plays when they have a chance to.

Despite the problems on defense, Sean Paytonís innovative play calling is also missed.

Like Steve Jobs was at Apple, Payton was to the Saints as a highly innovative, brilliant and aggressive-minded play caller. He seemingly was always one step ahead of the defensive football posse and this rolled at a very high pace when he was at the helm.

The past week in the 35-27 loss to Carolina the Saints did better offensively than they did in Week One, but their play was spotty because of the high amount of dropped passes, wide receiver Marques Colston not having a pass thrown to him until late in the third quarter and numerous breakdowns upfront, especially on the left side where offensive guard Carl Nicks once was.

With a continuation of this it wonít be long before quarterback Drew Brees goes down too. The Saints must clear up these breakdowns to have any chance to win the division.

Right now the Saints are struggling to find an identity. While some of what has happened is because Sean Payton is not on the sidelines, the reality is that defensively this team has made mistakes drafting players in the early rounds on that side of the ball. They need to find some way to generate a pass rush.

It is a long season, but right now they must right the ship quickly or things could get out of hand before getting that chance to make a hard run.

Right now just getting to the 1-2 mark is what it is all about.

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