Yes, that is the greatest image you've ever seen.
Yesterday was the first day that Saints fans were able to see their beloved players in black and gold running drills, implementing additions to the system and it allowed us to get a glimpse at possible position battles (though there was a surprising starter opposite Lewis). At this point in team activities there isn't a whole lot that we can draw from that probably won't change by the time week one rolls around. The good news is, football is back, even if just a little bit.
The success for this year's defensive campaign will hinge on the effectiveness of the defense to force turnovers. Last year, the defense finished the season ranked fourth overall, but struggled when it came to giving the offense more opportunities.While we know of the roster moves, like bringing in Byrd, but Rob Ryan took it a step further. Today during his press conference he said "to be great you have to take the ball away." That's where the Deparment of Domeland Security comes in.. The DDS will provide us with sure tackling, acrobatic interceptions and forced fumbles.
Great players can be imitated, more words from the wise Buddha of the Saints sideline. Today, Rob Ryan spent time with the defense showing film of Charles "Peanut" TIllman's ability to punch out the ball when it is in possession of the opposition. If you've never noticed it, I encourage you to look up some clips of the Peanut Punch. Actually, I'll give you one below that matches up well to Cam Jordan's recent 90s theme. I'm confident this is the exact same clip Rob Ryan used.
Not only did he show video of Tillman, but he showed numerous other bits of film in an effort to begin ridding the team of the stain it had on last year's stat sheet: Only 19 forced turnovers. During his talk with the media Ryan emphasized turnovers over and over again. Even though he admits last year this problem was a glaring weakness (his words) he is starting the season off by focusing on communication and improving the player's techniques on getting the rock back for Drew and Co.
Mike Triplett noticed this new theme as well, saying,
Defensive players were constantly trying to strip the ball away during Thursday’s OTA session that was open to the media. Safety Rafael Bush and cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste each forced a fumble by knocking the ball away from receivers during full-team drills. And Bailey forced an interception by batting the ball free from receiver Kenny Stills and into the arms of linebacker Kyle Knox.
Both Byrd and Bailey in the secondary should help in the form of interceptions, although Bailey might provide more from sharing his knowledge of the game. Victor Butler, Kenny Vacarro and Patrick Robinson were all back and moving at full speed. Our sack leaders are still here and healthy. Everyone is working hard. One thing is certain: This team wants to be great.
Some things regarding the defense worth noting from yesterday:
1.) Keenan Lewis and Patrick Robinson were the starters in drills. If this is any indication of the future, things could be looking bleak for Corey White's chances at starting. Possible that Robinson sits here until Bailey is caught up on the playbook. RR and Payton both spoke very highly of P-Rob though.
2.) Champ moved very well. RR said he "looked like one of the young guys."
3.) Cam Jordan is stuck in the 90s, seen wears long sleeve t-shirts under his pads. A few days ago he was playing the Poke'Mon theme song on twitter. I miss my Gameboy. Thanks Cam.
4.) Micheal Detillier liked what he saw in V. Butler
5.) R. Bush filled in for Byrd with the 1s.
6.) Marcus Ball's dreads are phenomenal. Haven't seen anything that nice since Mike McKenzie picked off T. Brady. I bet he uses bees wax.
7.) John Jenkins did not participate.
8.) Black is very slimming on Rob Ryan. I still think he should dye his hair gold to get rid of that Cowgirls silver.