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Saints Scouting Report: The Hunter Becomes The Hunted With Two Early Losses

The only drawback of winning a Super Bowl Championship is that you have to defend it. And once the trophy is yours, everyone else in the league will come after you for it; they will stop at nothing to dethrone the reigning champions of the world.

True, the Saints are equipped with weapons to make another run, but they have proven that they are not as strong as compared to last season’s magnificent run. Can’t argue against a prolific aerial attack that includes Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, and Jeremy Shockey. The running game has some quality names to its depth chart; no go-to guy, but a ton of potential ball carriers. With Reggie Bush potentially returning, either in week 7 or 8, and with the emergence of Christopher Ivory in the backfield, the Saints are again in a position to make another good run at the Lombardi Trophy, but are beatable.

Through the first six games of the season, no single receiver on the team has more than 25 catches, but seven different receivers have posted double digits in receptions for the season. Drew Brees is one of the most contentious quarterbacks in the league in terms of spreading the ball around; stretching the defense and making sure that the opposition covers the entire field. His vision separates him from the rest, making him amongst the elite gunslingers in football. This offense is well balanced, and can give the opposing defense’s chronic headaches.

Their offense is their identity. Perhaps the only defense stopping them from being the best team in the NFL is their own.

Second year defensive coordinator and former NFL head coach Greg Williams was given a large amount of credit for turning the Saints defense around last season. They were not great at stopping the run, or stopping the pass, but they made plays in crucial situations and provided a surplus of opportunities for the offense to flourish; a deadly feat. Takeaways were the key feature in the Saints defensive. Their ability to grab passes out of mid air ended up playing a large part in the Super Bowl when little-known Tracy Porter picked off a Peyton Manning pass, and took it all the way back to seal the deal and give New Orleans a ring.

This season, they have not had as much luck. Their run defense still struggles in their technique, and they are not as demanding at the line of scrimmage as they once were. They are currently in a three-way tie for 14th place in sacks, and are tied for 18th in interceptions. Drew Brees may be a consistent MVP candidate; but he can not do it all alone. Defense wins championships; and even last year, this defense was just good enough to slip by.

Another problem for New Orleans is that they play in a revamped NFC South division. Atlanta is looking very sharp and organized early, as they started out 4-1. And even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like a team to be reckoned with at 3-2. Things will only get more difficult for the reigning Super Bowl Champs.

The matchup between the Saints and the Browns will heavily favor the Saints at home. But Sean Peyton’s team is a humble one; there aren’t many things that they take for granted; other than death and taxes.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.