One year after getting to a Super Bowl championship by following an explosive offense and an opportunistic defense, the defense of the New Orleans Saints took a serious step back in 2010.
The reason for the fall back on defense? The inability of anyone on the defense to get to the quarterback. In 2010, the Saints were one of the worst teams in the league at pressuring the opposing quarterback. Only 33 total sacks were recorded by the team last season, and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis led the team in sacks with six, which should be a glaring sign for the team.
To counter their anemic pass-rush, the Saints used their first-round draft pick to select former Cal Bear Cameron Jordan in the first round. The team also selected former Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus in the seventh round. Romeus fell that late due to injuries in college and is expected to return to his college-form next season. He was projected to be a second-round pick before his injuries.
In addition to the two rookies on the defensive line, the team also has some tough decisions to make on free agent defensive linemen like Jeff Charleston, Anthony Hargrove and Jimmy Wilkerson, who were all solid contributors to the team in 2010.
With all of these players on the team’s depth chart, former Chicago Bears’ standout defensive end could find himself on the cutting block. After signing a meager two-year deal with New Orleans, Brown underwhelmed the team in his first year in the Big Easy, only 32 tackles and two sacks. If the team wants to get back into contention for the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl, they need more pressure on the quarterback, and Brown, who is entering the twilight of his careers, looks to have little ability to still get to the quarterback.
It all depends on which free agents the Saints purse and resign, but if their depth chart remains stacked, Alex Brown could be fighting for his future in New Orleans during training camp.