Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Weakest link: New Orleans Saints
By Pat Yasinskas
Time to continue our division-wide look at each team’s weakest link with the New Orleans Saints and their pass rush.
After fielding the league’s worst defense last season, the Saints decided to hire coordinator Rob Ryan and switch to a 3-4 defense. That scheme relies heavily on the outside linebackers generating a strong pass rush and many expected the Saints to try to get a big-name pass-rusher in free agency or the draft.
That didn’t happen and the Saints don't have the salary-cap room to make any significant moves. New Orleans’ biggest move in this area was signing outside linebacker Victor Butler, who has some history with Ryan from their time together in Dallas. I think the Saints have big plans for Butler.
The fact they didn’t bring in anyone else also tells me the Saints have big plans for Martez Wilson and Junior Galette as edge rushers. Wilson began his career as a linebacker, but switched to defensive end last season. Wilson might be best suited as a 3-4 linebacker. The same description might fit Galette, who played defensive end in the 4-3 and showed some promise as a pass-rusher.
The Saints also still expect defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Will Smith to get some pressure on opposing quarterbacks. But the Saints need Butler, Wilson and Galette to step up if this defensive scheme really is going to work.