Dec 29, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis (28) and cornerback Corey White (24) celebrate an interception in the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. New Orleans defeated Tampa Bay 42-17. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
The story this year has been the turnaround on the Saints defense. Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan turned an embarrassingly horrible unit from 2012 into a top 10 defense in several categories. There isn’t much personnel difference between the unit that allowed over 7,000 total yards last season. This year they have cut that down to less than 5,000 total yards.
The only thing Saints fans are anticipating now are more turnovers. Rob Ryan’s tactics produced more pressure on quarterbacks this season and 49 sacks compared to 30 sacks last season. The defense improve their forced fumble total from 11 to 13 this season, but the Saints have a turnover ratio of zero this year when they were +2 last season. They also haven’t gotten as many interceptions this season (12) as they had last season (15).
The Saints have made great progress from last season when they found themselves out of the playoffs. Sean Payton and his staff will need to continue to bring more balance to the offense and find more ways to protect Brees. Defensively, Rob Ryan and the Saints just need to continue being a stout defense. Turnovers count extra in the playoffs and on the road. The Saints will need to continue to improve to keep this team from being one and done next Sunday.