The New Orleans Saints finally accomplished something Sunday they were unable to do during the first two preseason games — sacking the opposing quarterback. Thanks to rookies Tyeler Davison and Tavaris Barnes, the Saints got their first take down of the preseason as the two shared a sack versus the Houston Texans. That is not good at all through three games.
The pass rush plays an intricate role in the success of NFL teams, and New Orleans has been almost nonexistent in that aspect. While releasing Junior Gallete was the right road to take as far as becoming distraction-free and improving locker room chemistry, we can’t deny the fact that his absence from the field is becoming more and more noticeable each game.
Sure, it may be the preseason and the starters are seeing limited action, but just one sack through three games is not very promising with the new season just around the corner. Junior Galette led the Saints with 22 sacks over the last two seasons, stapling himself in as one of the league’s more aggressive outside linebackers.
In his absence, Sean Payton and company are looking for somebody to rise to the occasion. There is one high — players are getting into the backfield. However, they’re just not able to finish what they started, giving opposing quarterbacks time to find the open man downfield, or even just keeping the ball out of the hands of the defense.
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Pro bowl defensive end Cam Jordan is still in town as he looks to eat up some of the slack left behind. It’s up to mediocre veterans (until proven otherwise) like Akiem Hicks, Anthony Spencer and Parys Haralson, along with a handful of unproven rookies to do the rest. That’s not saying the job can’t be done, but it is indeed concerning.
A lack of a pass rush will eventually expose the secondary players, no matter who is out there and how good they are. It’s also not going to help the turnover differential. Obviously, Junior Galette was in no control over the horrid defensive play between most of the corners and safeties a season ago, but he did get his job done on the field for the most part.
One person doesn’t always make a difference, but it can, and if somebody can’t fill the void, I’m sorry to say, but the Saints could be in trouble again on the defensive side of the ball. It’s especially not going to be pretty if the injury bug continues to haunt this organization in the secondary.
No pass rush plus an unhealthy secondary equals trouble. I am not defending Junior Galette, who is down and out for the year after tearing his Achilles at Washington Redskins practice, in any way, shape or form. I was fully on board with the team’s decision to cut ties with him. He was a cancer to the club. But it still doesn’t change the fact that his absence is showing. The truth hurts.
The New Orleans Saints face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field Thursday in an attempt to get this pass rush back on track, but this will have to come from the backups, as the starters will likely see very little action, if any at all.