Marshall Faulk has a specific question for Green Bay and New Orleans fans this week:
New Orleans and Green Bay present a matchup of two of our better quarterbacks in the NFL. To be GMC Professional Grade, you must recognize those who changed the game. Go back in history and select one former great—just one. Now add him to your team’s roster right now. Who would it be—and why? And how far does your team go this year, with that one player?
Man, all of the possibilities. Going back and selecting one single player to be on the Saints in the history of the NFL is obviously a pretty hard chore, but it is a fun one.
I decided to not go with the easiest route on this one. Quarterbacks like Joe Montana and John Elway would of course be nice to have behind center. Running backs like Barry Sanders and Walter Payton would boost the run game to levels we've never seen. Wide receivers like Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice would give Drew Brees options he's never had before.
Despite all of that, the offense has not been the problem for the Saints this year. Pro Football Focus has the offense ranked in the top 10 even though the pass blocking is ranked as the 13th worst in the league. The offense was very good against a tough Detroit defense until the 4th quarter collapse.
The problem has been the defense. PFF has the Saints as the 3rd worst defense this season. With a -35.2 pass coverage rating, only the Redskins are rated worse.
A top level cornerback seems like the position the Saints are in dire need of most. There are a few greats at corner in the history of the NFL, but I decided that Rod Woodson would be the best fit for the Saints defense. In Woodson's prime for the Steelers, he was possibly the best all around cornerback in the history of the NFL. He was fantastic in coverage, a great ball hawk, and a tackling machine who could even blitz the quarterback.
Woodson ranks third all time in interceptions, second all time in interception return yards, and first all time in interception return touchdowns. He was an 11-time pro bowler, a six-time first-team all-pro, and was the AP defensive player of the year in 1993. Woodson also forced 20 career fumbles and recovered 32. He ranks third all time in non-offensive touchdowns.
While there were other options at cornerback, I felt like Woodson would be the best fit in the current Saints defense. His great tackling ability is something the defense needs, and his ability to force big turnovers is definitely something that has been lacking this season. Even though Deion Sanders was considered a better lock down corner than Woodson, it was well known that primetime had a huge problem with tackling, and that is something the Saints don't need any more of.
I believe Woodson could lead the Saints to a division title by giving the defense a consistent corner that can shut down one side of the field and be a force in the run game as well. While there are plenty of other needs on the team, cornerback seems like the biggest glaring weakness right now.
It was fun being in fantasy land for a while, but the Saints have to do something to fix the coverages and tackle ball carriers in the open field. Golden Tate's touchdown on Sunday was a showing sign of the problems with the defense as he casually weaved down the field for a 74-yard touchdown that began the Lions comeback.
Rod Woodson isn't magically showing up anytime soon, and the Saints have to make do if they want to be in the hunt for a Super Bowl.