The big news surrounding the New Orleans Saints, as it has been all season, is about the switch to a 3-4 defense under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
Today the Saints news focuses on the new defense as we’ll examine position changes and how the overall unit will perform.
Let’s take a look.
Per Dave Cariello:
First and foremost it’s incredibly important to remember that the Saints are switching to a new 3-4 scheme; a scheme that Sean Payton realized needed to be implemented immediately just 3 days back on the job. They didn’t switch because some new defensive coordinator said so. Payton made the decision himself, then went out to find a defensive coordinator that best fits the job description. If the genius responsible for transforming the Saints into perennial winners thinks the team needs to switch defensive schemes after having the opportunity to study them from afar for an entire year, it’s probably a good idea. You get what I’m saying?
In addition, the guy Payton wound up hiring as his new defensive coordinator bears a striking resemblance in both coaching style and intensity to Gregg Williams. You remember old Gregg, don’t you? He was instrumental in helping the Saints win a Super Bowl in his first year on the job. An aggressive, opportunistic defense was exactly what the Saints needed in 2009 and it could still very well be exactly what they need in 2013.
I also think this was one of the better NFL Drafts the Saints have had in recent years. No head scratching selections, no wasteful trade ups. On paper it looks like every pick the team made was a smart one.
Per Darin Gantt:
According to Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times Picayune, Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis said Smith will open OTAs as an outside linebacker.
The Saints need help at the position, as signing former Cowboys backup Victor Butler was the extent of the additions there. And while Butler could be a good addition — he was productive in spot duty behind two stars in Dallas — the Saints need more.
How the 6-foot-3, 282-pound Smith holds up while standing up will be a key. He’s been a good-not-great pass-rusher in the past, but he’s probably going to need to drop some weight, in hopes of being more fluid than he’s been in the past.