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Saturday, December 22, 2012
Red zone offense will be a key

By Todd Archer



IRVING, Texas – The Saints are averaging 27.8 points per game, which is good for fourth in the NFL.

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Drew Brees has thrown 36 touchdown passes. Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles and Lance Moore all have at least five touchdown catches. Mark Ingram has four rushing touchdowns. In 574 pass attempts, Brees has been sacked just 24 times, so the line can block.

That should tell you defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has a tough task ahead of him.

But it also means something to Jason Garrett, as well, as the offensive play-caller.

“The best way to help the defense is to execute ball plays and drive the ball and score points,” Garrett said. “A lot of people say, ‘Do you want to play a slow down game and keep those guys on the sidelines?’ You just want to be able to execute, make first downs, move the ball and score points. However you can do that is a good thing. Every week we try to do that. We game plan accordingly. We’ll try to attack their defense.”

More important than winning time of possession is scoring touchdowns inside the red zone because of the Saints' offense.

During the Cowboys' three-game winning streak they have scored touchdowns on five of their last nine possessions inside the opponents’ 20. In their last six games they have scored touchdowns on 10 of their last 20 red zone drives.

“You must take advantage of the opportunities you do get in a game,” Garrett said. “You don’t get that many drives in a game. We’ve got to make sure we cash in on them.”