About three weeks ago when the Who Dat Nation heard the “shot heard around the world” when star tight end Jimmy Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for center Max Unger and the 31st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. About two days after the blockbuster trade Saints fans found some hope when Super Bowl champion and former Legion of Boom member Brandon Browner decided to sign with the New Orleans Saints.
Along with the resigning of running back Mark Ingram the acquisition of Browner has to be one of the highlights of the Saints 2015 free agency period. Brandon Browner will bring leadership and swagger to a Saints defense that performed horribly in 2014. One of the areas that underachieved on defense was the secondary that ranked 25th in the league against the pass.
Browner and fellow corner back Keenan Lewis will help bolster the Saints secondary. Browner’s other role on defense is to become the heartbeat on a defense that has not had anyone step up and take charge since the days of Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith. Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is a smash mouth talking coach but he does not have the players to bring that same tenacity to the field on Sundays. The Saints secondary made a lot of middle of the pack wide receivers look like superstars on a weekly basis.
That trend must change in 2015 if the Saints want to make another run at the Lombardi Trophy in February. Browner faced some of the league’s best receivers when he played with the New England Patriots in 2014. In regards to the NFC South there are at least three legitimate number one wide outs that Browner and Lewis must pay close attention to in 2015. Those receivers are Mike Evans of the Tampa Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers wide out Kelvin Benjamin, and Julio Jones of the hated Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints big four on defense will consist of Brandon Browner, Keenan Lewis, Kenny Vaccaro and Jarius Byrd. They will most likely be the pillars of a revamped Saints defense that will be improved significantly in 2015. However Brandon Browner is going to be the one to galvanize this young defense when they take on teams such as the Giants, Colts, and Cowboys next season. Those three teams are projected to have three of the best offenses heading into the 2015 regular season. Even though the Saints offense struggled a bit last season they still managed to be the one of the league’s best offensives by averaging 411.4 yards a game.
The problems lie with the Saints defense inability to stop the big plays that opposing offenses served up on a regular basis against them. Teams such as the Lions knew the Saints faults on defense and took advantage of it. If there’s anybody who knows what the saying “laying the wood” means in the NFL it would be Brandon Browner. When Browner played with the Legion of Boom in Seattle they would instill a sense of fear in opposing wide receivers.
Check out the video below to see what it is like to be on the receiving end of one of Browner’s vicious hits. Browner along with a few other players will bring a sense of physicality to a Saints defense that has been pretty much finesse under the Payton/Loomis regime. Like always the key to all of this will be the health of Jarius Byrd.
Byrd has the potential to become the Earl Thomas of this defense which will allow Browner and Lewis to succeed against opposing wide receivers such as Julio Jones and Mike Evans. Until we see the actual product on the field in 2015 most football analyst will not recognize the significant changes the Saints made on defense.
Photo Credits By: bostonherald.com
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