The New Orleans Saints are entering a new era with the loss of Sean Payton, but this is a team that may be better than you expect in 2022. Longtime defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is now the head coach, Jameis Winston is back for another season as quarterback, and the wide receiving corps has been completely revamped. However, the defense may be the reason the Saints find success in 2022.
Despite last year’s offensive struggles after Winston went down with his torn ACL, Allen captained the No. 7 defense in the league in terms of total yards allowed per game. This unit also finished No. 4 overall in 2020. With some of the additions New Orleans made this offseason, it could again be a top-five unit.
“Of course, I mean from first level, second level, third level,” Gardner-Johnson said, via NFL.com. “I mean, you got Cam (Jordan) and the front to pop it off, Shy (Tuttle), Marcus Davenport. Then you got Demario (Davis) in the middle calling all the shots. … You saw what they were doing last year with … Pete (Werner), (Kaden) Elliss, all those guys in the middle. Then the back end, bringing in the Honey Badger (Tyrann Mathieu). We just had a Super Bowl safety, two-time Super Bowl safety (Malcolm Jenkins), now we are bringing in another hometown hero, won a Super Bowl, Pro Bowler. So he knows, and we know what to expect. We’re just going to go out there and dominate and take advantage of the opportunity. Cause all this talent, why not? Can’t waste it.”
CJGJ has a point. From the defensive line to the linebackers to the secondary, New Orleans has plenty of talent. It’s also worth mentioning that this unit as a whole got better this offseason. The Saints added a cornerback they’re excited about in the second round of the draft in Alontae Taylor, replaced Marcus Williams with Marcus Maye at safety and then grabbed Mathieu in free agency. This pass defense ranked No. 14 last season, so you can expect improvement in that area.
Star defensive lineman Cameron Jordan agrees with Gardner-Johnson, as he told CBS Sports before the 2022 NFL Draft that he believes their defense could be better this upcoming season. It could even be something that makes New Orleans a Super Bowl sleeper.
“Just looking at the roster knowing our guys in our locker room, our leaders and everything that goes with it,” said Jordan, “We still have this idea where we can win a championship soon.”