No easy answers for Saints defense

Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have lost six games in a row at home, which is unbelievable considering they once won 11 straight in the Superdome during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. A big reason for their massive drop-off? Their defense, which allowed just 17.1 points per game during the 2013-14 steak, compared to 30.8 over its past six home games.

It got so bad this past Sunday that Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie QB Jameis Winston posted a Total QBR of 85.3 -- a massive improvement over his 6.7 mark in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans. Winston didn't force passes against New Orleans, mostly because he didn't have to.

After another poor showing, is this defense salvageable? Let's take a look at the personnel.


Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has a history of being too complex and putting too much stress on his cornerbacks. That's a big reason why New Orleans has allowed the third-highest Total QBR to opposing quarterbacks (70.5) since the beginning of last season.

The Saints tried to address their depth issues at cornerback this offseason by signing Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux, both of whom are physical press-man corners. The problem? They're also both drawing far too many penalties. The Saints' defense is tied for last in the league in flags (10) through two games -- five of which were defensive holding or pass interference infractions by Browner and Breaux. That's far too many. CB Keenan Lewis will give this group a jolt when he returns from hip surgery, but even still, corner looks to be a major weakness for New Orleans.