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Marcus Maye brings a physical, versatile presence to Saints defense

A look in what strengths Maye possesses and how he could affect team differently than Marcus Williams

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The moment Saints safety Marcus Williams decided to sign with the Ravens yesterday, it left a huge question mark on who would be the guy to fit young stars cleats.

Turns out the New Orleans Saints wasted no time in finding him...

Just hours after, multiple sources announced that the team had come to terms on an agreement with former Jets captain and safety Marcus Maye. Maye was one of the top safeties available heading into the free agency and the Saints made it clear that he was the best option to replace Williams.

I took the time and spent all night gathering film to talk about the unique things Marcus Maye will bring to the Saints defense, as well as what the Saints will gain and lose from the swapping of the two players.

As I began my film study on Maye, I quickly gained an appreciation for how he attacks each play.

He plays instinctive, fast & physical.

One of the traits he is well-known for is being a downhill player when playing close to the line of scrimmage.

In this clip below, it’s 3rd & 7 at the Jets 33-yard line in which the Panthers are driving. The Jets play a disguised Cover 1 look which means Maye is manned up on the tight end. The Panthers attempt to take advantage of him by running a slant/arrow concept to potentially set a natural pick on his way. Being that Maye is about ten yards off the ball, Sam Darnold takes what he believes is the easy gain in this situation.

Or so he thought.

Maye closes ground quickly and delivers a thumping blow, sending the tight end backwards immediately.

In this one, Maye is playing low in the box. He ends up slipping two potential blockers and chases down the running back for a negative gain.

He also does a fine job as a blitzer.

Here, Maye does a good job of not letting the tackle get hands on, allowing him to work around the bend sacking Mac Jones in the process. A big third down stop, forcing the Pats punt.

Maye has been just as exceptional in coverage whether he’s back deep or in man-to-man at the line of scrimmage.

The Jets are in a one high look with Maye playing as the high safety on this particular play. As he’s reading the quarterback, he recognizes the tight end streaking over the middle uncovered. Once he sees it, he closes ground quickly and delivers enough contact to force the incompletion.

This next clip now shows his ability to play some man-to-man when called upon to do so.

He does a nice job of squaring Renfrow up (one of the tougher matchups in the league) and breaking on the ball not allowing Renfrow a hand on it.

When it comes to Williams and Maye, the two players are quite different in their own ways. However, each are able to get the job done either way you want it. Williams is a very rangy safety with great tracking ability and can hold the backend of your defense up, although he struggles in the run support area. Maye isn’t as rangy as Williams but does display a good amount of range and the ability to track the football as well. What he does bring is much more of a physical aspect to the game, as far as jamming up tight ends and receivers and a willingness to play a huge role in the run game. The Saints could possibly change some things schematically if they choose to, maybe even playing more two high safety looks than they already do but overall, I believe the team is comfortable with Maye playing up top by himself if they need him too.

Should be a fine addition/replacement at safety for this defense.


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