Found September 28, 2012 on
The last quarterback the NFL's lowest-ranked defense should want to face next?
But if the New Orleans Saints are going to rise from the league basement, finding a way to stymie the NFL's reigning Most Valuable Player is a must in Sunday's game at Green Bay (4:25 p.m. ET kickoff, FOX).
Among the biggest reasons for the Saints' 0-3 start is a defense bombing on all levels. New Orleans has allowed at least 27 points in all three outings. The opposition is clocking an average possession time of 35:25, limiting the chances for the Saints' normally high-powered offense to get in sync.
The unit hit rock bottom in last Sunday's 27-24 overtime loss to visiting Kansas City. The Saints squandered an 18-point second-half lead as Jamaal Charles rushed for a staggering 233 yards and added 55 more yards on another six catches.
If Charles invoked memories of Jim Brown, there's a reason. That Hall of Fame running back is the only other player who has ever achieved such a statistical milestone in one game.
The Saints also have gotten sliced apart by three opposing quarterbacks (Washington's Robert Griffin III, Carolina's Cam Newton and Kansas City's Matt Cassel) who are nowhere near the same level of passer as Rodgers. The Griffin-Newton-Cassel trio posted a collective quarterback rating of 101.2 with a gaudy average of 9.12 yards per completion.
Some of these problems may be attributed to growing pains being suffered while adjusting to the system installed by new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. In particular, Saints strong safety Roman Harper points to the unit's third-down performance. The conversion rate of 37.8 percent is tied for 18th in the NFL.
"We haven't been able to get off the field in longer third-down situations," Harper told FOXSports.com. "That's prolonging drives. When you're out there on the field more, you're going to give up more yards. We have not been stout enough in our run fits at times."
The only encouraging sign for New Orleans' defense entering Sunday's game is the fact Green Bay's offense also isn't performing at a high level. Normally among the league leaders in production, the Packers rank 25th in total yardage. Green Bay also is coming off an uneven effort in Monday night's 14-12 loss at Seattle in which Rodgers was sacked eight times - seven of which came in the first half - and Cedric Benson was limited to 2.6 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Harper believes a combination of factors is slowing down the Packers, but he also knows that Rodgers still has one of "the top two or three arms in the league."
"Sometimes, things like that happen," Harper said of Green bay's struggles. "Not every quarterback is going to be perfect every game. You could put on pressure, the receivers, different defensive schemes ... Everything comes into effect."
The Saints will be doing everything possible to avoid an 0-4 start that would almost certainly doom their playoff hopes in the first month of the season. While an improved comfort level with Spagnuolo's concepts should result in better play, Harper believes the problems run deeper.
"We have to come out with a better defensive attitude where we're going to really come out there and knock some people out," said Harper, who ranks second on the Saints in tackles with 25. "So what about fitting and thinking? Take all that out of the book and just go play defense like we're in the backyard. That's where you just line up, whup the guy in front of you and find the ball.
"We've got to do more of that. When we do that, everything will be fine."
If nothing else, it can't get any worse.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Green Bay Packers look to bounce back from their Monday night loss when they play the New Orleans Saints this Sunday afternoon.
While the Packers players feel they were robbed of a win after the replacement referee fiasco, it is time to move forward and focus on the game and really focus on righting the ship.
So far this season the Packers offense has not been the same it was...
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By CHRIS JENKINS AP Sports Writer For all the Green Bay Packers' complaints about a mistake by replacement officials that cost them a game Monday night, they probably wouldn't have been in position to lose on a last-second play if their offensive line had done a better job protecting Aaron Rodgers in the first half.
Going into Sunday's...
One day after venting on his radio show about the refereeing debacle that cost the Green Bay Packers a game in Seattle, Aaron Rodgers saved one last barb for the NFL.
Asked Wednesday about how the Packers were handling the aftermath of a Monday night loss that touched off a national firestorm about the league's use of replacement officials, Rodgers dismissed an NFL-issued statement...
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When the referees walked into the Packers' locker room just moments after Monday night's now-infamous touchdown ruling in Seattle, linebacker A.J. Hawk thought it was going to be good news."I thought they were going to tell us we won the game, honestly," Hawk said Wednesday. "I think a lot of people thought that. But they were saying we had...
Week 4 QB Rankings
I have Aaron Rodgers ranked at number one this week as he faces a New Orleans secondary that has allowed 273 yards per game including 320 yards to RGIII in his NFL debut. Cedric Benson has become a major thorn in the side of Rodgers owners but Rodgers should still post a nice day in this one.
RGIII is unbelievable; he is essentially a low end QB1 and RB2 all rolled...
Posted by a staff contributor at 1070 The Fan, Bob Lamey has a much longer Afternoon Update from the first day of the bye in which he has audio from everyone from Colts QB Coach Clyde Christensen to Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers.
Our Fantasy Football Preview of 5 Key Match-ups for Sunday, Brought to you by The League
1. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers versus the New Orleans Saints defense.
If you have Aaron Rodgers on your fantasy football team, this is certainly the week to start him. He struggled a bit on Monday night against a tough Seahawks defense. But this Sunday when he faces off against...
Each week in 1st and 10, I empty out the drawer of my fantasy mind, with 10 thoughts to consider as your season progresses.Is Aaron Rodgers now officially a mistake or at least a dilemma? Yes, you likely drafted him too early and disobeyed www.FFChamps.com Commandment 5, “Thou Shall Wait on a Quarterback". Learn from it for next season but be patient. Rodgers has opened to...
This Gatorade is a little sour Juan…
I pushed hard all Summer for fantasy players to pass on QBs early, but to think that the top guys would struggle mightily was beyond even my wildest predictions. Will they continue to struggle? Will those that have overachieved early on, be able to continue their success?
Will Aaron Rodgers finish as a top 5 QB? (currently 20th in standard...
The New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers have been two of the NFC’s best for the past 3 years and have had some of the most explosive offenses in history, largely due to the play of their all-pro QBs, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. This year, the pass-happy offenses that lit up the league [...]
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
New Orleans Saints (0-3) at Green Bay Packers (1-2)
The Saints and Packers are a combined 1-5 three weeks in the season. Raise your hand if you saw that coming. I strangely see no hands. This is a huge, must win game for both teams, and given that we should expect huge performances from both quarterbacks. You know it’s really not sitting well with both of these quarterbacks that...
After three weeks the tables have turned in the NFC North and the two teams at the bottom from last season are sitting a top the standings with a tenuous one game lead. Let's take a look at five things to watch this week in the black and blue division.Can the Packers recover from the beat down in Puget Sound?Everyone in America has seen the play that ended the game in Seattle...
Green Bay’s high-powered offense has struggled early in the season
The Green Bay Packers are 2-1 1-2. That puts the defending NFC North champions one game behind the division leading Vikings and Bears and tied with the Lions. Here’s my analysis of the offense after three games:
QUARTERBACK: Aaron Rodgers‘ passer rating is down nearly 35 points from last season, and while numbers...