Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
Time for the undefeated New Orleans Saints in our continuing series of team-by-team mailbags.
Loren in New Orleans writes: Pat, couldn't help but notice the 3-4 peaking out of the Saints defense against the Bills. I also remember Gregg Williams saying that he built the defense around the players, not the players around the defense. Johnathan Vilma came to the Saints last year admitting he hated the 3-4 when he played for the Jets and that he loved being part of the 4-3 instead because it's what he excels with. Do you think Gregg Williams' G-Fence will continue to show 3-4 packages with a mixture of 4-3 or do you think it's another trendy move to the 3-4 now that we've got the speed on the front line?
Pat Yasinskas: The base of the New Orleans defense is the 4-3. The Saints have mixed in the 3-4 at times and I suspect that will continue. I think it’s a good thing and is healthy because it keeps offenses from locking in on one thing. But this is still largely a 4-3 team and Vilma is a very significant part of this team. He’s at his best in the 4-3 and I don’t think the Saints want to have him doing something where he’s not at his best.
Chris in New Orleans writes: I hate to be the cynical conspiracy theorist, but I have to ask. Jammal Brown is obviously disappointed that his season is over. Is this a ploy by the Saints front office to lower his value in a contract year and help their chances to resign him next year? Or are they just concerned of having to deal with Jammal Brown questions and the distractions that come with them? I get a sense that there is more to the story here.
Pat Yasinskas: No, I think it’s really as simple as the Saints found out that Brown’s rehab was going to take longer than expected and he wouldn’t be able to help them this year. When you’re off to a 3-0 start, you don’t sit down a Pro Bowl left tackle if there’s a possibility he could come back in November or December, especially when Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief are your alternatives.
Jim in Baton Rouge writes: Pat, awesome blog, and great insight on the NFC South. A few questions for you here, and hopefully you can get the chance to answer them in the mailbag, as I usually can't participate in the NFC Chats. First, When was the last time in Saints history that they had a running game that exceeded the passing game but such a significant margin? The game Sunday was phenomenal from a running/defensive standpoint, but I can't remember a time that Brees was so off and the running game was so on. Also, I was reading Sando's MVP list and he actually ranked Manning above Brees, but Brees above Brady. What's your take on this? Peyton may have passed for more yards, but overall Brees' QB rating is better, and even with the Bills game, Brees is still, in my opinion, the master at directing an offense.
Pat Yasinskas: If I was voting for MVP right now, I’d go with Drew Brees. You can’t argue with his numbers and the Saints are undefeated. That’s good enough for me. I seem to recall some days back when Ricky Williams was around where the rushing numbers were much greater than the passing numbers, but that was mainly because the passing game was so bad. Can’t say I’ve seen anything like this in the Sean Payton era -- and that’s a very good thing.
Bijon in Metairie, La., writes: Hey Pat love the blog. just wonder after look at the first three weeks, how many Pro Bowlers do you see coming from the saints. of course brees but beyond that do you think there is any possibilities? Thanks for your time.
Pat Yasinskas: All right, we agree Brees is automatic. After him, I’ll take Marques Colston. I also think the two guards, Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans deserve strong consideration. Fullback Heath Evans has to be a possibility and I’m not ruling out Jeremy Shockey. On defense, … wow, we’re already talking about Saints defensive players going to the Pro Bowl, well, safety Darren Sharper’s putting up the early interception numbers. Vilma’s definitely a candidate. I don’t want to get carried away on Will Smith and Charles Grant this early, but they’ve started well. And I think Sedrick Ellis bears watching, too.
Richard in Ann Arbor writes: Ok, so, 3 weeks into the season, and the Saints have more wins than the rest of the division combined. I think we now know for certain that the NFC South is going to get one of those wildcard spots. One. Nothing like the top two teams in a division both going 5 - 1 in divisional play. The real question at this point: Will the NFC Championship be held at the Georgia Dome or the Superdome? This year, my money's on Brees to bring it to the Superdome.
Pat Yasinskas: So far, I can’t argue with that one. The Saints are clicking everywhere. Looking forward to arriving in New Orleans on Saturday afternoon and soaking up some of the undefeated atmosphere.