Dreams Do Come True

25 Sep

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

Well, that was fun. Yeah, the offense still has some issues, the line looks like utter garbage, and Brees spent more than a few plays running for his life. Apparently, when you replace a really great guard with some dude you never heard of, Darnell Docket will take advantage. Who knew? Lessons learned, right?

However, if you spend too much of your time complaining about any facet of offensive performance, we here at The Angry Who Dat Dot Com will remind you of our standing policy, Look At The Scoreboard Stupid. 31 points. Thirty-one. No matter what the game feels like, 31 points will win virtually every game when they’re paired with a top-4 defense. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

Miami is up next, and I won’t spend much time talking about it. We all know how Sean Payton operates in primetime, and we know how drunk and out-of-control the Dome will be on Monday Night. This game, at the risk of “overlooking an opponent” or whatever the message board phrase is, should be quite enjoyable.

Triplett, a diamond in the bucket of shit that is ESPN.com, points out that the Saints’ next three opponents are 3-0 as well. That’s not good enough for me, so I’ll hold my nose and root for the Bears and Patriots for now. Wins over 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 teams to reach 6-0 would make for a very tolerable bye week, don’t you think?

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about Arizona.

I listen to ESPN radio on the way home from work sometimes. Some days Bobby Hebert can be a little overwhelming, and I do like to hear about some of the football teams outside of New Orleans. Look, I shouldn’t have to justify this.

Anyway, some ex-football player or another did his “playmakers of the week” or whatever similar tripe each of them does at some point in the week based on which highlight video got the most thumbs-up on YouTube and therefore promises the highest approval ratings for the broadcast, securing him a job that he’s not really good at for at least one more year, riding the coattails of his own athletic career and yelling nonsensical shit (but football shit! gotta love it!) in hopes that maybe he can make up for all that money he blew on party buses and strippers and champagne during his football days, and therein he discussed the Saints defense. I’m paraphrasing:

“Rob Ryan’s squad will get after you. He is NOT afraid to blitz your quarterback with linebackers! On any down! In any situation! He will get in you’re FACE and intimate you and crush your HEAD with his unadorated blitziness!”

Or something like that. But it was exciting to hear. YES, I thought, that pressure is the difference. As I’ve said before, in a post lamenting a miserable fucking we received at the hands of 2013 NFL MVP Peyton Manning, pressure changes an entire defense. Limiting the time a quarterback has to throw improves every position on the team:

You can mask your weaknesses in the secondary two ways: with talent or with scheme. Gregg Williams masked the inability of the defensive line with his unsustainable insanity for a while, but it was an insanely genius insanity in that it masked the defensive line’s inability to rush the passer and created a pass rush, thereby masking the flaws in the secondary (and yes, they were there in 2009 also).

Furthermore:

… the line takes fucking minutes to get to a quarterback, and the corners have to play soft, and they know they have to cover for three or four moves, and you can’t jump a route when you have to cover for three or four improvised route changes.

In conclusion:

So maybe we don’t even know what we have in the secondary. They’re not great, and they might not even be any good at all. But give us a pass rusher or two, and we know the defense gets better.

This isn’t an “I told you so” post, because obviously a pass rush isn’t the only change in the defense’s performance this year.  The only major change at the back of the defense, however, is Kenny Dwayne Fucking Vaccaro, who, granted, is playing at a level nobody expected, even those who liked the draft pick. The key differences are Rob Ryan and the defensive line. And Rob Ryan has to get credit for a lot of that pressure, since surely his scheme is responsible for the vast majority of opposing quarterbacks’ happy feet, as I argued Gregg Williams’s was above.

Right?

Pondering these questions, I tired of ESPN’s golf coverage and switched over to good ol’ 106.1. Gus Kattingell (or something like that), on The Ticket discussing the latest :gamefilm: analysis from Nola Dot Com diamond in the proverbial bucket of shit Larry Holder, pointed out something spectacular from Larry’s writeup, a simple little pair of statistics that had this guy right here so excited he went full :clapyell: all by himself in the car:

Carson Palmer against the blitz: 3-6, 34 yards.

Against base pressure: 15-29, 153 yards, four sacks, two interceptions.

Read it again. It felt, at times, like Carson Palmer was running for his life. He was hurried constantly, dancing in the pocket, throwing the ball away, making errant throws.

While the Saints blitzed six times. SIX. Four sacks and two interceptions (that’s all the sacks and all the interceptions, for those keeping track) resulted from a four-man rush.

If that doesn’t give you erotic feelings in your genital areas (I’m trying to be inclusive here, ladies), then you’re either just not that big a football fan or you haven’t been paying attention for the last seven years.

I intended for this post to be about the amazing change in the secondary this year. Of course, it’s not always beautiful, but under 200 yards passing? 167 total yards, a PTOMAC of 0, two turnovers in the final 10 possessions? It’s too good to be true. It’s so much more than anyone could have asked for. And it’s happening with Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins and basically the 2013 secondary with the exceptions of KDFV and Keenan Lewis on the field. That’s incredible.

It’s not a fluke: I’m no gamefilm guy, and I don’t break down plays and take notes or watch the game 6 times during the week like some of the more dedicated football geniuses in this here little blogosphere, but one thing I do enjoy at live games is watching the secondary. Colston vs. Peterson, for example, was a highly entertaining battle (Peterson didn’t always cover Colston as he spent some time with Stills, but he was on Colston most of the time). But I digress. Roman Harper is covering tight ends well, at least underneath. He blanketed Tony Gonzalez consistently. Jenkins takes better angles, and when he gets beaten, it seems to my eye (as ignorant of the actual scheme/play as I may be) more of a took-a-risk-he-shouldn’t-have than 2012′s didn’t-know-where-he-was-supposed-to-be.

KDFV sits high on more plays than I expected, allowing the corners  and safeties underneath to be more aggressive, and that alone resulted in one interception Sunday.

It all makes perfect sense. A great corner or safety can only cover for a certain amount of time. A mediocre wide receiver will get open against a Hall of Fame cover corner. It’s just a matter of time. The great ones can cover for several seconds. When you give a guy like Peyton Manning 10 seconds to throw (as we did last year, initiating the post quoted above), you’re fucked. No matter who your secondary is.

The thing is, when you limit that time, when you bring the internal clock down to a second or two, when you harass a quarterback enough, you can mask some deficiencies on the back side.

When you do it with 4 guys all but six plays a game, and are able to drop 7 into coverage consistently? You can play three or four safeties in certain situtations. You can put someone over the top and allow corners to jump routes without giving up 80 yard touchdowns. You hold offenses to 16.7 yards per possession over 10 possessions. Eventually, you come away with a top 5 defense. And a massive boner.

Fuck, and yes. 2013 is going to be a good year. In that post-Broncos post, I told you all we needed was a defense:

Anyway, back to my point: the defense doesn’t need an overhaul because it doesn’t even have to be fucking good. It just has to be bad instead of mind-numbingly terrible. And you can get there with one added ingredient: a little talent on the defensive line.

Yes!

We don’t need to blow up the entire defense for 2013.

YES!

Even if we did, of course, we couldn’t, because that’s not how football works. You don’t get a perennial #1 offense and a top 10 defense, so stop wishing for it.

Well, shit. That was a stupid fucking thing to say.

Saints 57, Dolphins 10

2 Responses to “Dreams Do Come True”

  1. The GOAT September 25, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    It never fails to amaze how Ryan is getting so much credit for getting “aggressive”, when all he’s doint is using common sense and letting four good rushers beat six blockers.

    Which, like a Russian housewife, is ugly as hell but works all day.

  2. cajuncommando58 September 25, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Yes, the Pass Rush is making everyone better. Shame PRob, got hurt, cause even he was looking better. John Jenkins was one of my main Man Loves, in my CSC Mocks, Vaccaro not so much. Glad to be wrong. Was also excited when we sighed Walker last year. And the surprise of the off season has to be Foster. Loving the Youth movement. Keenan looked improved from the beginning of the season as well.

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