A weekly look at what the New Orleans Saints must fix:
Nobody needs the backing of the Dome crowd more than the New Orleans Saints' pass-rushers when they return home in Week 5 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Saints' pass rush went from disappointing to disappearing in Sunday's 38-17 loss at Dallas. Ends Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan were held at bay all night, with New Orleans' only sack coming from safety Kenny Vaccaro.
The glaring problem against the Cowboys was that the Saints were so heavily focused on stopping the NFL's leading rusher, DeMarco Murray. They often had linebackers and Vaccaro hovering back behind the line for containment.
But the strategy backfired when Murray destroyed them for 149 rushing yards anyway. The Saints forced only one third-and-long situation during the first three quarters.
"There's no four-man pass rush if you can't stop the run," Galette lamented. "They're going to run play-actions on you, and you have to respect the play-actions. ... There's not one time [Tony Romo] just sat back there and was just comfortable. The times he did sit back there, he took off [running]. They game planned and had a lot of respect for our defensive line, and we didn't stop the run."
It seems defenses have been game planning in a similar fashion for most of this year, with quarterbacks releasing the ball quickly. As a result, the Saints are tied for 23rd in the NFL with just five sacks. And they're one of only two teams with zero interceptions.
The key to New Orleans' success last year was Jordan, Galette, Akiem Hicks and others getting consistent pressure with a four-man rush. And they need to be the leaders of this season's defensive revival to take some pressure off the secondary and possibly even start forcing some of those elusive takeaways.