New Orleans -- They're not a fluke. They're not on a hot streak.
The 2013 Saints defense is for real. Through three games, they've been the one constant in all three of their wins.
Sunday was their best effort to date. The Cardinals opened the game with a touchdown and did nothing after that. The defense was stifling the rest of the game. They forced eight consecutive punts and picked off Carson Palmer twice. They sacked him four times and allowed just 247 total yards of offense.
Their effort allowed the Saints to work through some early kinks on offense and win easily, 31-7.
I can recall the several conversations in the offseason saying all Rob Ryan really needed to bring was an average defense and Drew Brees and the offense will do the rest to win.
Well, forget average. Thus far, they've been flat out dominant at times.
Through three games, they're allowing just 12.7 points a game.
I don't think I need to remind anyone of just how bad this unit was in 2012. They weren't just ugly; they were the WORST DEFENSE in NFL history
"Last year, I don't know what that was. But this year is what I expected," linebacker Curtis Lofton noted after the game.
Ryan's influence cannot be understated. The roster is not identical but a significant portion of the key contributors were here in 2012.
And the best part is they are doing with young blood. Sunday's defensive line rotation included Cam Jordan, Akiem Hicks, Tyrunn Walker, Glenn Foster, Junior Galette, John Jenkins and Martez Wilson.
None are over the age of 25.
Throw in the wise-beyond-his-years, rookie Kenny Vaccaro and you've got not only the transformation of the defense, but one that can be around together for quite some time.
No one inside the Saints locker room was getting ahead of themselves. They know they still have many mega-challenges ahead of them.
But it's okay to get excited; what we've seen thus far is real.
The 2013 Saints identity is starting to form and it's one that will include a defense that must be respected.
For the second time in three years, a federal jury is deciding whether fear or malice drove a former New Orleans police officer to fatally shoot a man outside a strip mall.more>>
For the second time in three years, a federal jury is deciding whether fear or malice drove a former New Orleans police officer to fatally shoot a man outside a strip mall less than a week after Hurricane Katrina's landfall.more>>
The national director of the Deaf Federation of South Africa says a man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela's memorial service, attended by scores of heads of state, was a...more>>
As one world leader after another paid homage to Nelson Mandela at a memorial service, the man standing at arm's length from them appeared to interpret their words in sign language. But advocates for the deaf say he...more>>
An old country road outside Mandeville, has seen a doubling of traffic accidents and huge delays since an interchange with Interstate 12 opened up. The state has come up with three proposals to makemore>>
An old country road outside Mandeville has seen a doubling of traffic accidents and huge delays since an interchange with Interstate 12 opened up.more>>