NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Shoring up the Saints' defense was obviously a top priority after a down year in 2015. Naturally, they're already taking steps to improve in that department, even just a few days into OTA practices. It's the little things that can make a big difference.
"For Dennis (Allen) and the staff on defense, the first thing you've got to be able to do is get aligned right and handle adjustments," said Head Coach Sean Payton. "If a team gets set and goes in motion, you've got to be able to communicate the adjustment. If you're having trouble with that, there's probably a good chance you're going to have trouble having any kind of consistency defensively."
Consistency can also stem from simplicity. Now with a full off-season in control, defensive coordinator Dennis Allen's installation seems to be a hit with the players.
"We're going to play this, this or that," said cornerback Delvin Breaux. "That's it. He wants us to master that, and I think we're getting a great grasp of that, as you can see. We're out there flying around, and we're not thinking. We're just playing."
Allen's not the only leader making an impact. On the field, veteran linebacker James Laurinitis is already assuming a leadership role.
"He's amazing," said linebacker Stephone Anthony. "He's obviously the alpha male. He's the quarterback of the defense."
"He's already at a stage where he can assist others in alignment," Payton said. "He knows it cold right now. He's experienced, and I would say it comes real quick, and he's a quick study."
With all that being said, it's still May and there's still a long way to go before we can really tell how much the league's 31st-ranked team in total defense from 2015 has improved. But it's certainly a promising start.