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New Orleans Saints Defensive Strategy: What's Most Important?

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Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams coaching LB Jonathan Vilma during timeout (Source:

Gregg Williams is known for an aggressive-style defense containing many blitz packages and schemes designed to disguise pre-snap formations.

This is a high-risk high-reward style defense that at its best can be extremely potent, as we saw in 2009.  On the other hand, an offense that properly anticipates the defensive strategy can have a field day, as we saw last year in the NFC Wildcard game versus Seattle.

On August 8, the Saints will face the Green Bay Packers, the first of a series of potent NFL offenses that they will face in the 2011 season, including Atlanta (x2), Tampa Bay (x2), the New York Giants, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Houston Texans among others.

A common theme for all of these teams is that they each have an established, talented leader in the quarterback position.

So, defensively, Gregg Williams’ strategy will be to limit the production of each quarterback he faces. Not to take anything away from the importance of rush defense, the 2011 New Orleans Saints defense will have to focus on shutting down quarterbacks and making big time plays in the secondary if they hope to win key games this season.

But how do you go about shutting down top-tier NFL quarterbacks? Do you focus on the front four, placing the most importance on the pass rush, or do you look to your secondary to play lock-down defense on wide receivers?

Both are obviously key parts of any potent pass defense, but how do you find the perfect balance?

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