Saints need to bring back takeaways

METAIRIE, La. -- Through the first seven games of the season, the New Orleans Saints forced 15 turnovers -- a big reason for their 6-1 start.

But over the past seven games, the Saints have forced a total of two turnovers while going 4-3. They’ve now gone three straight games without a takeaway.

“There’s something wrong with that, and we’ve got to get that fixed. We’ve got to give more possessions to our offense,” said Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton, who said it has obviously been a huge point of emphasis among coaches and players heading into Sunday’s road game against the Carolina Panthers.

Even when the Saints routed the Panthers 31-13 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome two weeks ago and sacked quarterback Cam Newton five times, they had zero takeaways.

Getting that type of pressure on the quarterback is the first part of the takeaway equation. And the Saints’ pressure has remained fairly steady all season (24 sacks in the first seven games, 19 in the past seven). But safety Malcolm Jenkins said those sacks need to result in more fumbles. And that pressure needs to lead to more interceptions.

Lofton said it’s important that the Saints stay disciplined when they’re making sacks and tackles in the open field. They need to secure those tackles, first and foremost. But players need to rally to the ball to increase their odds of stripping the ball away.