Jairus Byrd gets long-overdue Saints interception under Dennis Allen


Jairus Byrd got his first interception of his New Orleans Saints career Sunday afternoon in their loss to the Houston Texans, but should the Dennis Allen effect take responsibility?

Unfortunately, Jairus Byrd‘s first interception since joining the New Orleans Saints in 2014 wasn’t a game changer because the offense couldn’t capitalize off the turnover.  However, it is nice to finally see the injury-riddled safety making plays after missing 12 games a year ago and the first three in 2015.

After surrendering an early 14-point lead to the Houston Texans, Jairus Byrd and the newly-led Dennis Allen defense began to find a groove.  Thanks to a disastrous performance by the offense, the Saints’ defense couldn’t get off the field, making it seem much worse than it actually was.

Head coach Sean Payton admitted to the offense’s struggles during his postgame interview and Monday morning press conference, even taking blame for some of the questionable play calling.  Of course, J.J. Watt‘s constant havoc-wreaking pressure on the offensive line and quarterback Drew Brees didn’t make things any easier.

Houston was New Orleans’ last chance at turning their disappointing season around.  This team is not winning five-straight games to secure a winning record and a wild card spot.  Sorry, Saints fans, but it’s just not happening.  There’s too much wrong with this club to convince me otherwise.

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The displeasure of a deteriorating season indeed leaves a sour taste in the mouth.  All you can do is try to focus on the positives, which came in a very limited capacity Sunday afternoon.

Jairus Byrd finished the day with seven combined tackles, a pass defended, and his first interception since beginning his representing of the Fleur-de-lis.  He’s been one of the more effective players on defense during the Saints’ three-game losing streak that began Week 9.

New Orleans signed him to a six-year, $54 million contract in 2014, but he has failed to display those elite ball-hawking skills we grew so used to watching during his tenure in Buffalo.  Slowly but surely, Jairus Byrd is shaking the rust off and finding his way on defense.

If he can remain healthy, it would be no surprise if Byrd became a top-tier talent again, especially with Dennis Allen taking over as defensive coordinator following the firing of Rob Ryan.  Allen’s aggressiveness and exceptional capacity as a secondary virtuoso could be exactly what the doctor ordered for a department struggling against the pass.

Remember, it was Allen — once the Saints’ secondary coach — who free safety (Byrd’s position) Darren Sharper flourished under during New Orleans’ historic Super Bowl run in 2009.  Is the Dennis Allen effect responsible for Jairus Byrd’s big game and the secondary’s undervalued performance in Houston?

It’s too early to judge anything as far as Allen, and it’s also too late to hope that the Saints’ defense can put the team back on the map in 2015.  However, it will be exciting to see how the remainder of this disappointing season plays out with Allen leading the way in hopes of securing a permanent position as defensive coordinator next year.