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New Orleans Saints Mailbag: Why the Saints Defense Won't Suck in 2013

Below are my answers to reader questions submitted Friday. Special thanks to all those that participated. Feel free to continue the discussion on any of these topics in the comment section below.

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What away game(s) will you attend this year? -Charles

I have no plans thus far to attend any away games. If I did, it would probably be the one against the Jets, since I could use it as an excuse to see my family and I'd have a free place to stay. But that's right smack in the middle of busy season at work so I doubt it will happen. I've got a standing offer from the Glazer family to attend a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game that I should definitely cash in one of these days.


Do you have a favorite jersey? - Can I.

Probably my white Drew Brees jersey. How can you go wrong with that? I'm also quite fond of my old, worn out Marques Colston black jersey for obvious sentimental reasons. And in case you were wondering, I like the old Reebok jerseys better than the new Nike ones.


Since Payton surely won't lead the pre-game chant on September 8, how cheaply opportunistic would it be to replace him with Gleason? - Sly

First of all, they've already had Steve lead the chant so it's not like that would be such a far-fetched idea. But unfortunately, I'd be concerned at this point whether Gleason's ALS has progressed passed the point that he'd physically be able to lift his arm and swing it down to start the chant. Incredibly sad.


I have a recurring dream of the Saints playing a defense with 3 safeties. Should I seek professional help? - Russ T.

That wasn't a dream, that was an article I wrote two weeks ago. Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have both alluded to the possibility of a defensive package utilizing three safeties.

Payton likes that Vaccaro has shown the ability to defend slot receivers as a nickel back, as he often did against spread offenses in college. This past week, general manager Mickey Loomis addressed the possibility of having Jenkins, Vaccaro and strong safety Roman Harper on the field simultaneously.

Before the draft, when we were talking about different scenarios," Loomis said on WWL Radio, "one of the scenarios was that Malcolm could move into the nickel position because he has done that before and he does have good coverage skills.

2013 NFL Draft pick Kenny Vaccaro already has experience defending slot receivers. So does Malcolm Jenkins. Because of that versatility they both offer I am more than certain we'll see a fair amount of three-safety nickel packages. Now wake up!


Question:I think this D going to suck (almost crying). Can you give me some serious arguments before i hang myself? - S.T.D.

I really don't want you to hang yourself so have no fear because I'm about to save your life.

First and foremost it's incredibly important to remember that the Saints are switching to a new 3-4 scheme; a scheme that Sean Payton realized needed to be implemented immediately just 3 days back on the job. They didn't switch because some new defensive coordinator said so. Payton made the decision himself, then went out to find a defensive coordinator that best fits the job description. If the genius responsible for transforming the Saints into perennial winners thinks the team needs to switch defensive schemes after having the opportunity to study them from afar for an entire year, it's probably a good idea. You get what I'm saying?

In addition, the guy Payton wound up hiring as his new defensive coordinator bears a striking resemblance in both coaching style and intensity to Gregg Williams. You remember old Gregg, don't you? He was instrumental in helping the Saints win a Super Bowl in his first year on the job. An aggressive, opportunistic defense was exactly what the Saints needed in 2009 and it could still very well be exactly what they need in 2013.

I also think this was one of the better NFL Drafts the Saints have had in recent years. No head scratching selections, no wasteful trade ups. On paper it looks like every pick the team made was a smart one.

Everything in my gut tells me the Saints defense isn't going to suck in 2013. I'm not saying they're going to be amazing, but that's the best part: they don't even need to be. Here's a fun fact: the Saints defense was only ranked 25th overall when they won the Super Bowl in 2009.

The truth is, it's their high-powered offense that runs the show and wins the games; it's up to the defense to simply not lose it.

Hopefully you feel a little less suicidal now than you did three minutes ago.