The New Orleans Saints had their worst season on defense in history last year when they gave up a record 7,042 yards of offense. When Sean Payton was reinstated as head coach, one of the first things he did was fire former Saints’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Earlier in the offseason, Rob Ryan was brought in to improve the Saints’ defense, and it looks like that was a good move through two preseason games.
Now that the Saints have switched to a 3-4 defensive alignment, there has been a significant improvement in their pass rush. During their first preseason victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Saints held their opponents to only 13 points and the defense produced four sacks. The Saints’ defense followed up that performance with an impressive seven sacks in a 28-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Friday night. Furthermore, the Saints also picked up a safety late in the second half of the game that helped secure the win.
I know it is only the preseason, but the Saints’ new defensive alignment has done wonders for their pass rush, and the team should look to build off of their preseason success heading into the regular season. The next test for the Saints’ pass rush will come in the form of Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans. The Texans have a pretty good offense, and the Saints’ defense will definitely have its work cut out for them.
If the Saints can pull out a win against the Texans, it will be because of their defense. We all know what Drew Brees and that Saints’ offense can do, but now that the defense has been stepping up, they must maintain that consistency. I would look for the Saints to go after the quarterback early and often and if they do, they should walk away with another win.