By: Damian Adams
A football team is a lot like a woman. The offense is the exterior, the way she looks, the shape of her body, how she dresses and the way she carries herself. The offense is what attracts the man, makes him almost break his neck as she walks by, also makes him want to approach her and ask her out.
The defense and special teams is the substance of the woman. The defense and special teams is the woman’s personality, her ambition, her ability to make good decisions, and the way she treats her man. The defense and special teams is what makes the man want to be in relationship, makes him introduce her to the family, makes him want to live with her, and eventually put a ring on it.
The 2015 New Orleans Saints were 7-9, ranked 2nd overall in offense, and 32nd overall in defense. Last year the team was beautiful on the outside, looking a lot like Kerry Washington. Unfortunately, the saints had no job, but were somehow always in the club. They had three kids with three different fathers and a 420 credit score. The team realizes that they are not marriage material and that changes need to be made if they want to contend for a championship and get a ring put on it.
Ladies please don’t take this the wrong way, you can flip this analogy and it works exactly the same.
This intense gentleman with the head set on is Dennis Allen. The new defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints. Allen is the key to making that change the Saints need. The defense needs to improve drastically for the Saints to contend for a playoff spot. Allen has a history with New Orleans. Allen was the assistant defensive line coach with the gold and black in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, the saints ranked 13th overall in defense, 12th in sacks with 38, as they finished the regular season 10-6, losing the NFC championship game to Chicago Bears. In 2007, the team slipped a lot on defense and were ranked 25th overall, 21st in sacks with 32 and finished 7-9, missing the playoffs. Allen was promoted to the coach of the secondary in 2008 and held that position until 2010. In 2008, the defense had another down season, the one bright spot was the secondary which ranked 13th in interceptions with 15, finishing the season 8-8. In 2009, the defense ranked 20th overall, but 3rd in interceptions with 26, which was a big part of the 13-3 regular season and playoff run which included a Super Bowl victory. In 2010, the defense was 7th overall, and 4th in passing defense, finishing 11-5, losing to Seattle in the wildcard game.
In 2011, Allen left to be the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator and the Saints felt the effect of his absence as New Orleans declined in defense every year with the exception of 2013, where they ranked 4th overall. Last season Dennis Allen was added on as a senior defensive assistant but Rob Ryan had the controls of play calling for most of the season.
The improvement of the defense ultimately comes down to the players producing but having the right defensive coordinator is a major part of it. The defensive coordinator can put in the right scheme, call the right plays, and put players in the best place to succeed. For the saints sake, hopefully Dennis Allen does that better than Rob Ryan did the last two seasons. Allen wants the defense to be more aggressive and physical as he stated in an interview with The Sun-Herald, “We want to be an effective defense. We want to be an attacking, aggressive style of defense. We want to put pressure on the offense as much as we possibly can. You can make up for a lot of mistakes by playing hard and physical. Our defense is not as much about what we call but more about how we play.”
In the first preseason game the defensive starters looked to be adapting Allen’s philosophy, as they constantly put pressure on, Patriots quarterback Jimmy Graoppolo, flew around the field and made plays.
If Allen can help improve the Saints defense into a top 20 ranking. The Saints will have a chance to put a championship ring on it.