Brian Allee-Walsh

Dennis' Menaces give the New Orleans Saints reason to hope on defense

Brian Allee-Walsh
Brian Allee-Walsh Kathy Anderson Photography

NEW ORLEANS

If you don't already know by now, I'm big on perspective. So without further ado, I present Exhibit A.

You have two teams, in this case, the defending Super Bowl champion and standard of excellence New England Patriots and the recently sub-standard New Orleans Saints, who last reached the postseason in 2013 and have struggled mightily to field a respectable defense.

Two telling statistical defensive categories are yards per game and points per game. As we put a wrap on the preseasonThursday night, one team finished 32nd league-wide in both categories and one team finished No. 3 after four games.

Heads are going to roll this week in the Commonweath of Massachusetts. Patriots monarch Bill Belichick doesn't like finishing last in anything, even in something as inconclusive as preseason statistics.

That said, Saints coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Dennis Allen just might have something based on what we've seen this preseason capped by a 14-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in a battle of scrubs Thursday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

We'll have a better understanding of "Dennis' Menaces'' after Week 1 when the Saints face the Minnesota Vikings on the night of Sept. 11 at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

On the flip side, we did not see the type of Saints offense that we are accustomed to seeing with Drew Brees under center. Of course, No. 9 barely broke a sweat in the four exhibitions, playing just 27 snaps and generating 124 yards and three points in five possessions against the Houston Texans in Game 3.

Other than that cameo appearance, we saw backup Chase Daniels and reserve quarterbacks Garrett Grayson and Ryan Nassib share the remaining workload.

Which would help explain the Saints' woeful offensive pre-season numbers: 13.3 ppg (No. 29), 30.3 red zone TD percentage (T27), 301.3 yards per game (T15), 4.82 passing yards per play (No. 30) and 29.03 third down conversion percentage (No. 29).

On Sept. 11, we'll have a much better idea about all three phases of the 2017 Saints and in subsequent weeks at home against the aforementioned Patriots (Sept. 17), at Carolina (Sept. 24) and against Miami at Wembley Stadium in London (Oct. 1).

In the meantime, all of Who Dat Nation should revel in the moment.

Based on the preseason, Dennis' Menaces provide a glimmer of hope on defense for the first time in years.

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