Lock-Out Defense

Lock-Out Defense <!-- / icon and title --><!-- message --> I was in Nacogdoches TX all week, and I believe the leading cause as to why the Saints lost was due to the fact I was watching the game in a crappy hotel, away from my sanctum and Saints shrine and posse. That said, there were other contributing factors.

On the drive back last night, I heard an excellent point made on Sirius NFL Radio's "Point After" show. The following principle was discussed: teams who have complicated and complex defenses will take a much longer time to get in their groove. The logic is that the more you do on defense, the more time you need to practice and prepare in the offseason. Guys need to know where to be and what to do in each situation, as well as what the next guy is going to do.

A defense like Chicago does nothing fancy. They are a Tampa 2 defense. They don't use much trickery. The opponent basically knows what they are trying to do. The assignments are never in question, becuase for the most part, it's a base defense and players responsibilities don't change much. From a mental standpoint, Chicago's defense is fairly easy to learn. If you can picture the comparison of an old school I formation power offense and contrast that to Sean Payton's Gulf Coast Offense, you'll get the picture. Teams like Chicago don't need much time to learn the intricacies of their defense; it's just a matter of doing the same one thing well.

Gregg Williams defense is much more complex. In addition, many new players are on the field without the benefit of OTA's and a proper off-season. The new CBA constricts how much a team can practice, so the correct amount of time needed for every wrinkle and package and personel group is spread thin. Instead of practicing the same thing over and over and having mostly the same 11 spending more time gelling, the Saints are still trying to learn and get comfortable with multiple defensive looks.

It's almost as if the abbreviated off-season is more condusive to being the master of 1 trade as opposed to the "jack of all". I won't point any fingers at Gregg Williams. That's not what this is. No, this is a call for Saints fans to be patient, because once this defense clicks, it will have a big advantage over teams who run a simpler system.

To a man, that's only half of why the defense doesn't look so well right now. The other biggest contributing factor I notice was tackling. This deserves criticism. In pee-wee football, you learn to look at who you are tackling (keep your head up), run through the person, wrap your arms around him, and drive him to the ground. This is VERY fundamental. Yet if you watch the Green Bay game again, you will see MULTIPLE examples of players just diving at the ball carrier and not even attempting to use their arms.

I remember one particular play where the Green Bay WR caught a ball near the goal line, with his back to Roman Harper. He came back to catch the ball, and Harper could have knocked the snot out of him with a well placed hit to he back (and possibly forced him to drop the pass). Instead, without the WR ever seeing him, Harper passes up the easy lick and dives towards his feet, not bothering to even wrap his arms around the WR's legs. This is a microcosm of how all our defensive backs (minus Jenkins) tackle. The guy doesn't even see you coming, you can impose your will and completely jack him up, yet you dive at his feet. We're not talking about an intimidating 265lb Brandon Jacobs with momentum, we're talking about a 200lb WR standing still, not even knowing your about to jack him up.

If I were Gregg Williams, I'd hold a tackling class every day. Sure, players were out of position all night maybe because they are still learning with all the different allignments, personel, ect. But Green Bay's offense wouldn't have had nearly the same amount of success if the Saints simply did the simplest, most elemental part of their job-- making a proper tackle.

Maybe GW should have simplified his defense considering the time limitations, I dunno. You couldn't tell we have 4 pretty good cover corners, that's for sure. The good thing is the staff knows what to correct, and there simply aren't many offesnes that can do what Green Bay did to our defense (I think the only other like it is ours).

My last gripe is the defensive line. Where in the world were Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin? Or Sedrick Ellis for that matter? A few players need their manhood challenged.

This FanPost was written by a reader and member of Canal Street Chronicles. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CSC and its staff or editors.

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