Dec 8, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints are ready to take on the St. Louis Rams in Week 15, and head coach Sean Payton and his team are fully aware of the challenge in front of them when it comes to dealing with Rams defensive end Chris Long.
Long, easily one of the NFL’s best pass-rushers, has 33 total tackles, one forced fumble and 6.5 sacks on the year already. That is a down year for Long, who recorded 11.5 sacks in 2012 and 13 in 2011. But the Saints know not to take this for granted — Long has given the Saints fits in the past.
Saints head coach Sean Payton put it best Thursday, via the team’s official website:
"“He plays with a great motor. He’s very talented. He’s explosive. The snap that you get on play number four, you’re going to get that same energy, that same ability to get off on the snap count on play number 34. He goes extremely hard. He’s very smart. He plays with very good leverage. You see him get on the edge of tackles. You see him rush with power. You see him rush with speed. He presents a lot of challenges.”"
We know what the Saints offense is capable of, but Long has the ability to halt any positive momentum on his own. The offensive line has been doing a solid job of protecting Brees so far this year, but Long may be their biggest test to date.
The Rams surely want to play spoiler Sunday. With No. 1 corner Cortland Finnegan out for the year, the defensive charge will be led by Long. Keep an eye on No. 91 at all times.
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