New Orleans Saints
After yet another hard-fought loss, the New Orleans Saints are winless at 0-4. Each game, the Saints seem to find a new way to lose. Although the equation changes every week, one variable has remained the same. The Saints' defense cannot even get close to generating a meaningful pass rush.
Green Bay Packers
If ever a team looked vulnerable to a decent pass rush, it was the Green Bay Packers. In their previous game, the Seattle Seahawks sacked Aaron Rodgers an incredible eight times. On the season, the opposition had sacked Rodgers 16 times. Unfortunately, the Saints did not sack Rodgers even once.
A quick look at the NFL stats shows that surprisingly, New Orleans is not dead last in sacks. Four teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, and Pittsburgh Steelers, each have fewer sacks than the Saints. (The Steelers have only played three games and should certainly end up with more sacks than New Orleans.)
But despite having six official sacks through Week 4, the Saints clearly cannot generate the kind of consistent pass rush that makes NFL QBs uncomfortable in the pocket. The constant push up front that collapses the pocket is the kind of pass rush that leads to inaccurate passes and interceptions.
There is certainly a lot of blame to go around in New Orleans, but I refuse to criticize the play of the Saints' defensive backs. Ronnie Lott, Darrell Green, and Rod Woodson would have trouble defending the pass on this Saints' team. Without the fear of getting their heads knocked off, today's NFL QBs are too skilled to fail against weak pass rushes.
I'm still not ready to declare new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's scheme a bust. But I will say that I now understand why Gregg Williams had to blitz on every other play. Even though it left the cornerbacks in man coverage, Williams clearly realized that New Orleans' pass rush could not sack the QB without blitzes.
The problem with the Saints' pass rush is personnel, not coaching. The defensive line in New Orleans just isn't good enough. Although the front office and scouting department have hit the jackpot numerous times on offense, this administration has yet to bring in an impact player on the defensive line.
Until that problem is addressed, opposing QBs will continue to have more than enough time to pitch a tent, roast marshmallows, and torch the New Orleans Saints through the air.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
More from this contributorGame summary of Super Bowl 48
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- New Orleans Saints
- New Orleans
- Green Bay Packers
- Aaron Rodgers