Minden Press-Herald

Wednesday
Oct 01st

Saints going bigger along the defensive line this year

METAIRIE (AP) — In two seasons as the New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams has changed the culture of a unit that was known, before his arrival, for giving up big runs and long passes, and not coming up with enough takeaways.

He hopes to change it even more for the 2011 season.

Through the draft and a series of free agent signings, the Saints have added several defensive players that Williams himself has to look to with the idea of stopping the run more effectively and affecting the quarterback's ability to throw the ball.

"We're going to look different getting off the bus," Williams said. "You've got to get bigger people. We have to get those bigger people to play with the same tenacity that our smaller people have played with in the past. But we sure look different."

In other words, you have to be tall or wide — or both.

New defensive tackle Shaun Rogers is 6-foot-4 and 350 pounds, which dwarfs fellow tackle Aubrayo Franklin, who's 6-1 and probably a shade more than his roster weight of 317.

Rookie defensive end Cameron Jordan, the team's top selection in the draft, is 6-4, 287. Strongside linebacker Martez Wilson, a third-round draft pick, steps into the huddle at 6-4 and 252 pounds.

As a result, the Saints' front four has undergone a major makeover with the addition of Rogers, Jordan, Franklin and defensive end Turk McBride, who join three holdovers — Will Smith, Sedrick Ellis and Alex Brown.

"I'm a better coach when the guys are big, fast and tough," Williams said, "but I've made a career on guys that are two inches too short, 10 pounds too light, and a tenth of a second too slow. We've made a career on making sure those guys understand how to play, too."

 

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