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Out with the Old, In with the New

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For the last two years the major focus in the effort to improve the Saints defense has always been in stopping the pass. Giving up big plays or allowing opposing quarterbacks too much time in the pocket is the bain of every Who Dats existence. And while the run defense has been nothing to write home about, it's at least been mediocre and tolerable. With all the improvements and upgrades made in the secondary and pass rush this off-season, it would seem like the team has finally suceeded in significantly addressing those pass defense issues.   

But based on what he's seen so far during training camp, Jeff Duncan seems to think that those problems have only been replaced by other problems, notably, stopping the run. 

The run defense is a potential concern.

Some defenders Saturday said they were pleased with their run "fits," but the rushing yards appeared to come too easily...

...If you're looking for the biggest question mark heading into the exhibition season, run defense is it.    

Of course this is cause for great concern and any real Saints fans first reaction should be, "Oh %&$*!" Naturally. That's just the kind of cruel twist of fate that would befall the Black & Gold and its faithfull following, in a year when everything seems ripe for the taking. It would certainly fit a pattern.

The first thing to do is keep in mind that this is just training camp. But here is more food for thought: Perhaps Duncan's got it all wrong and the run defense isn't really that bad. Maybe...just maybe...the Saints running game is actually that much better. Mike Bell appears to be a camp standout and Payton has spoken highly of remaining running backs Lynell Hamilton, Herb Donaldson and P.J. Hill. Sure, it's far fetched and of course I've been drinking but the secondary seems improved so why can't the ground attack be also?

That's about as much optimism as you're gonna get from me at this point in the year so think about it and let it sink in. Then comment.