The New Orleans Saints defense knows it no longer gets the benefit of the doubt.
Not after three consecutive seasons at the bottom of the NFL’s rankings.
But this Saints defense believes there is still reason for optimism, despite a mistake-ridden performance in a season-opening loss against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, a night that left many wondering aloud if the Saints defense will stumble again in 2017.
“I understand why the fans and all the media people are saying this, because every year, it seems like this happens, so what are they supposed to say?” safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “The only way we can change that is if we put different results on the field.”
New Orleans gave up 470 yards to the Vikings. Cracked open at first by a Sam Bradford performance that produced 346 passing yards, the Saints allowed rookie running back Dalvin Cook to break free twice for big gains later, racking up 127 yards.
“It was not a good tape,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “I thought defensively, we struggled in coverage at times. For the early portion of the game, the penalties hurt in the first series. … As the game wore on, I thought the explosive plays hurt us. There were some MEs (mental errors), poor decisions. Overall, not good enough.”
Payton’s reaction to the performance has been to dwell on the mistakes a little longer than normal, when the team would go through film and then move on to preparation for a New England Patriots offense that promises to be…
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