Saints' Corey White goes from goat to hero

NEW ORLEANS -- No individual New Orleans Saints player experienced more redemption Sunday night than cornerback Corey White.

White made two huge plays that helped turn the Saints’ 44-23 victory against the Green Bay Packers. And he was solid all night -- starting with a pass breakup on the opening snap -- against one of the NFL's most dangerous passing offenses.

First, White broke up a pass in the end zone when the game was still tied 16-16 -- and the tipped ball was intercepted by Saints linebacker David Hawthorne. Two drives later, White intercepted a pass of his own -- his first of the season.

It was a huge turnaround for the third-year pro, who served as an equally big goat in New Orleans’ collapse at Detroit a week earlier, allowing Golden Tate to spring free for a gut-wrenching 73-yard touchdown.

"Everyone has a bad game, everyone has a great game, and it’s up and down. ... But what you do after that game is what makes you a good player," said White, who has been riding a roller-coaster of highs and lows since becoming a starter in Week 2. "You gotta stay confident in this league. Anytime you walk around with your head down or mope around, you’re not gonna make any plays. And offenses and quarterbacks will just keep going at you. Once they see bad body language, they’ll keep going at you. So it was good that we stayed confident."

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers proved White correct on the opening play of the game -- immediately targeting receiver Davante Adams on a short pass to start the game. But White had tight coverage and forced the incomplete pass.

"When they came to me the first play of the game, I was like, 'Yeah, it’s gonna be a long day,'" White said. "I knew they were gonna come at me all game. I’ve expected that all season."

The entire Saints defense could have had the same "long day" thought after Rodgers hit receiver Randall Cobb for a 70-yard touchdown pass and a quick 7-0 lead four plays later on third-and-10.

Once again, the Saints had one of those assignment breakdowns that have plagued them all season. After dime cornerback Patrick Robinson blitzed, Cobb broke free behind cornerback Keenan Lewis, who was clearly expecting safety help behind him.

The Saints’ defense stayed resilient though. As coach Sean Payton and several players said, all of their past meetings with Green Bay in recent years had been high-scoring affairs where teams were able to rally back. And they knew they would be OK if they could weather the storm. Sure enough, though Rodgers stayed hot (throwing for a whopping 203 yards in the first quarter alone), Green Bay settled for field goals on the next three drives.

Then on Green Bay’s first drive in the second half, White tipped away a third-and-goal pass intended for tight end Andrew Quarless, and Hawthorne snagged the ball.

"He’s done some good things. Listen, he had the big play a week ago, but he’s playing pretty good football," Payton said when asked about White’s resilience.

Payton seemed to be referencing outside critics when he said, "It’s hard when certain members are trying to evaluate him, but he’s done a lot of good things. I’m pleased with how he’s playing."

White also helped turn things around this past week by shaving off the mohawk he had sported all offseason, saying it was, "Time for a change."

When asked if he felt that did the trick, White said, "That’s what I’m thinking. I might go bald next week."