An interesting statistic from ESPN Stats & Information: The New Orleans Saints have blitzed at an identical rate from 2012 to 2013 (11.9 times per game). But this year, their blitzes have been way more effective.
The Saints lead the NFL this season by recording sacks on 14.5 percent of plays when they send five or more pass rushers. Last year, they ranked 27th in the league at 5.2 percent. Chalk that increased success up to both defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s creativity and the improved play of Saints pass-rushers such as Cameron Jordan and Junior Galette.
One more interesting note from ESPN Stats & Info that illustrates the difference a year makes: If the Saints (6-1) beat the New York Jets on Sunday, they’ll already match their win total from last season.
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Saints quarterback Drew Brees remained at No. 2 behind Peyton Manning on Dan Graziano’s weekly MVP watch for ESPN.com.
However, not everyone feels the same way. Longtime NFL scout Gil Brandt voted Brees as his midseason MVP on this NFL.com panel. Brees and Sean Payton also got a little love for Offensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.
The Times-Picayune’s Katherine Terrell points out that Brees’ numbers aren’t that much different from this point in the season last year – but the perspective has changed dramatically. The Saints’ win total obviously has a lot to do with that.
As twin brothers Rob and Rex Ryan prepare to face off this weekend (Rex is head coach of the Jets), The Advocate’s Ramon Antonio Vargas got some fascinating history and perspective on them from their older brother, Jim.
ESPN’s Herm Edwards has a surprising name among his five “underperformers” who need to improve for their teams to contend – Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro has drawn universal praise for his impact as a versatile playmaker. But Edwards’ point is well taken. If the Saints are going to use him in such a key role, he needs to be more consistent.
NewOrleansSaints.com’s John Deshazier writes about receiver Kenny Stills’ continuing rise.
Jordan, who stands out for having one of the Saints’ most playful personalities, was miked up for last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills.