Brian Allee-Walsh

Saints’ defense making progress, but needs to keep ‘getting better’

Saints columnist Brian Allee-Walsh
Saints columnist Brian Allee-Walsh Biloxi

NEW ORLEANS

When it comes to the schizophrenic, enigmatic New Orleans Saints defense, I am reminded of an ageless Beatles ditty:

“I’ve got to admit it’s getting better

It’s a little better all the time...

Better ... better ... better ...’’

Unquestionably, the Saints defense is “Getting Better’’ under coordinator Dennis Allen, who has helped breathe life into a seriously challenged unit that seemed to be on football life support in mid-September.

My lyrical reference to the Beatles comes in the wake of last Sunday’s splendid performance by the Black and Gold in the UK, a 20-0 whitewash of the Miami Dolphins at London’s Wembley Stadium.

That game piggy-backed a stellar outing a week earlier at Carolina, a four-sack, three-interception performance by Dennis’ Menaces en route to a 34-13 victory against quarterback Cam Newton and the previously undefeated Panthers.

This is the same player and Carolina team that moved up and down the field in Week 4 against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, amassing 444 yards in a last-second 33-30 win at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

This is the same Patriots team led by quarterback Tom Brady that racked up 36 points and 555 yards in a 36-20 win against the over-matched Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 2.

Go figure.

That was then. Like I said it’s “Getting Better.’’

Based on those back-to-back wins against Carolina and Miami, the Saints defense has rejoined the NFL’s working class going into the second quarter of the season. In terms of total yards (374.8) and points (19.5) yielded per game, the Saints rank 28th and 15th league wide, respectively.

The beaching of the Dolphins, however, came with a heavy price. The Saints lost the services of rookie linebacker Alex Anzalone (right shoulder) and right tackle Zach Strief (right knee), each of whom will be sidelined a minimum of eight weeks after being placed on injured reserve.

They join starting injured cornerback Delvin Breaux (broken leg) and FB John Kuhn (biceps), among others, on IR. At the appropriate time, NFL rules will allow the Saints to reinstate two players from IR to their 53-man roster.

Stay tuned.

In the meantime, as we await next Sunday’s noon kickoff against the Detroit Lions at the Superdome, you can sing along with me. All together now:

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better

It’s a little better all the time ...

Better ... better ... better.’’

Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at sports@sunherald.com.

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