MFWE is back this week as we talk with Corey Wilson. Corey, who has been an avid Saints fan for life, has unleashed a great wealth of knowledge about the inner workings of the Saints for us in preparation for Saturday. This is great work by a new friend and if you don’t read it you’re insane. If you have any other questions for Corey, email him at CoreyWilson1981@gmail.com.
1.Rob Ryan turned what was one of the worst defenses ever into a top-tier unit in a year. What’s been the biggest change for the D?
There were many things that factored into having the worst Defense in NFL history last year. Spagnuolo was hired to replace the high intensity, blitz happy, Greg Williams, a scheme that our personnel really fit into. We also had no real #1 CB, rectified by FA Lewis from the Steelers. The absence of Sean Payton for the entire year was also a large distraction as well. Players just were not responding to the changes well.
Now how did Ryan take that bunch and turn them into a top 10 Defense in the NFL? First, he used Cam Jordan the way he was supposed to be used. Cam played 3-4 when he was in College at CAL, which is why he was such a prolific pass rusher to begin with. Next, Rob restructured the secondary and used our #1 draft pick, Vaccaro, to his full potential. Allowing Vaccaro to cover TEs and to come on Safety Blitzes is what he did well at Texas, and Rob let the young man do what he was comfortable doing. Rob also comes with a certain level of intensity as a DC. You see him on the sidelines and he is fired up, cheering on his Defense. He shows emotion when they don’t perform well. Rob Ryan has taken to the city of New Orleans well, and I think that show in his passion for the team/defense.
2. The Saints use a heavy back rotation on their offense with Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles, and Mark Ingram. How defined are their roles?
PT Cruiser is the work horse RB in the Saints offense. He is your between the tackles up field power running back. He is also a great out of the back field pass catching RB and great in the screen game. PT is also a great blocking back, one of his most underrated abilities. PT can do it all, and is a huge part of the Saints run game success as of late.
Sproles is the quick, 1 cut and gone, get him the ball in space, does Reggie Bush better than Reggie Bush type of RB. Sproles is a match up nightmare for defenses. Many of the Saints’ offense schemes contain line ups with both Sproles and Graham to get the match up that Payton wants. Putting a LB on Sproles pretty much spells disaster for a defense. Sproles is a GREAT screen RB, though I think many teams have started to figure out when he is on the field to watch for screens, which is why you see more with PT and Ingram as of late.
Mark Ingram. He is supposed to be our hard-nosed, bang you up back. While he has shown glimpses of that in a few games, (Dallas, @ Panthers) this was supposed to be the year that he was truly healthy and we were going to see greatness. Having 3 really good running backs I think has hurt him a bit, not being able to gain momentum during some games, but I think if he got a more steady workload, he could turn out to be quite serviceable.
3. One of the big stories has been that the Saints struggle on the road. Do you believe it to be a legitimate concern heading into Philadelphia?
With Andy Reid simply waiting to be fired, the focus is on the Eagles future. So, what we’ll be doing for the next few weeks is coming up with some interesting candidates for the job. And your first candidate is…
This is a huge game for the Eagles on Monday Night. This will be a true put up or shut up type of contest. Tons of talk surrounding the Birds has been held with the caveat of “Well, they still have a ton of talent.” That’s all well and good, but there comes a point where it doesn’t matter. You need to play well as a team with the talent you have.
Were the Tim Tebow led Broncos more talented last year? Hell no. But they would probably whoop the Eagles right now. This team is playing downright ugly, inconsistent and underachieving football. The proof comes from the players only meetings held during the week, which were probably the first ever held by a team that was 3-4. This team is desperate and lacking in confidence, which brings me to the first point for tomorrow night: