Not many were sure how the new 3-4 defense the New Orleans Saints made the switch to under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan would look this early in the preseason, but the new-look unit is impressing everyone from the media to quarterback Drew Brees.
This approval of the new defense in New Orleans should not come as a surprise for a few reasons. For one, the new unit couldn’t be much worse than last season’s which ranked as the worst of all time statistically. Secondly, the man behind the new unit extends from a coaching tree including Buddy Ryan and other great defensive minds.
According to John Bennett of Fox 8, Brees has been impressed with the new defense so far. Ryan addressed the media and explained that things are going so well so far because of the extreme versatility on the roster:
“Most of it is looking correct (digesting the defense). There were a couple of mistakes out there where we really looked exotic. The thing I have been the most impressed about is our veterans and how quickly they’ve picked things up. Guys have position flexibility all through this roster. There are so many talented guys here but, the veterans in particular (have impressed me). The Will Smith’s, the (Jonathan)Vilma’s, Curtis Lofton, and Roman Harper. I’ve been really impressed with how much these guys love football, how much they study, and what quick learners they are. It’s really been impressive.”
The elite quarterback and Ryan himself is not the only one impressed. ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas revealed over the weekend in a chat that he has been equally impressed with the unit:
Matt (Pensacola): What are your thoughts on the Saints after seeing them this week?
PY: Was amazed at how many different looks they were using on defense. Defensive attitude seemed much more aggressive. If they can just be decent on defense, they should be able to get back to where they were a couple years ago.
It was hard to tell right away how a 3-4 defense would work out in New Orleans with so many left over pieces from a 4-3. Thanks to an elite defensive mind like Ryan it appears things are ahead of schedule and looking good so far.