Sep 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs with the ball against New Orleans Saints linebacker Ramon Humber (53) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys was a perfect window into what is wrong with the New Orleans Saints defense. They cannot stop teams from running the ball.
Ok, so maybe that isn’t a big surprise to many Saints fans, but the psychology of not being able to stop the run and what it forces coaches to do played out under the lights in Dallas.
Desperate fourth down trick plays, single coverage on elite receivers, and a long field for the Saints offense are just a couple of the situations that you put your team into when you can’t stop the run game.
The fact of the matter is, in the beginning was the ball, and the ball was carried. If you don’t commit to stopping the run, you’ll make bad teams look like contenders.
DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys offensive line (one of the best offensive lines in football) was an exceptional match up and they executed their plan against the Saints to the tune of 149 yards and two touchdowns. They controlled the trenches for a large part of the game.
The Saints linebackers did a better job of getting to the point of attack in the second half, but were ultimately gassed because they could not get off the field consistently.
The Saints need to turn up their aggressiveness early in the first half to force three and outs on teams that plan on running the ball. If you can do that early, you can dictate the opponent’s game plan going forward.
Contrary to popular belief, the Saints don’t have the wrong players on defense and they certainly didn’t sacrifice getting a complete defense in order to get Jairus Byrd. As frustratingly simple as it is, the Saints defense simply needs to execute much faster and much better than they have been the past four weeks.