When watching the Saints defense in their first pre-season game against the Bengals last Friday all the talk of a new attitude and aggresive style of play wasn't just that, I witnessed it first hand. For the past two seasons while Shaun Payton has been able to creat one of the most potent passing games in NFL history the defense has been a sore spot. Enter Greg Williams a defensive coordinator who has had varied degrees of success in the NFL. Payton took a pay cut just to make sure the Saints would have the money to make such a hire. So far from the looks of training camp and their one pre-season game played, this may have been a wise decision.
The whole unit seems to have already bought into what Williams is selling them and has fans of the team dreaming big this season. The local thought is if Williams can get the defensive unit somewhere in the teens as far as rankings go, then with such a deadly offense they should be serious contenders for post season play. Of course limiting the amount of injuries that plagued the team a year ago is a must but there's plenty of depth this year unlike the previous three.
During the off season the Saints not only got the defensive coordinator it was seeking but was also able to re-sign MLB Jonathan Vilma and also bring in a vet. FS in Darren Sharper, a player who fits Williams scheme and plays a very important role in it. Both Vilma and Sharper had huge plays in limited work during Fridays game. Vilma had an interception and fumble recovery, while on that fumble recovery Sharper was the one who laid the hit down that caused the fumble to happen.
Having your two main players on the defense lead by example in the first game can only bode well for the younger players and the moral of the unit as a whole. There were quite a few mistakes shown by the defense but just the attitude and hustle from every player like DE Charles Grant running down Bengals WR Ocho Cinco or DT/DE Anthony Hargrove who's trying to resurect his career run the field to get Vilma the last block needed to score on his interception is something not seen in the "Back N Gold" since the days of coach Jim Mora Sr. and his Dome Patrol, which was rated by the NFL network as the best linebacking group ever.
Every team looks good and feels good about where they are at this time of year, however with a little luck,some hard work and a gris-gris this just might turn out to be the year Saints fans have been praying for!
P.S.- I wanted to take the time out to thank Kristen for inviting me to contribute to her blog. I like the rest of you met her on foxsports.com just after she won a contest as the next great sports writer, or something similar to that. Eitherway she's been a great friend to me ever since the first time I either commented on her blog or vice-versa. So merci beaucoup ma chere, you are a great writer but an even better friend.
P.S.S. Also want to say hello to a few of you all here. Aero,tophatal,degraff,forensic2,boltbacker,the ever so beautiful hotfootlori,hanahan and last but certtainly not least my boy B@O that dude there is to damn funny. If I missed anyone else who knew me from fox then I appologize and hello to you all as well. Hope things are going great for you and yours. Look forward to reading some very good post from some pretty talented folks.
Good luck to you all!