METARIE, La.– Sedrick Ellis and Jonathan Vilma are two of the newest members of the New Orleans Saints defense, the first the top draft pick from the college ranks, the second a veteran trade acquisition from the New York Jets.
Both came to the Saints with the same preconceived thoughts: Good offense, so-so defense — mainly because that’s what they had heard.
“I always thought it was the offense that was here winning games for the team,” Ellis said.
Said Vilma: “I heard it.”
Is the perception wrong? Under coach Sean Payton, the Saints are known as an offensive team. He is the best play-caller in the NFL and he has a quarterback on the field who is an extension of himself in Drew Brees. That leads to a sharp passing game, an enjoyable offensive team to watch and put points on the board.
The Saints threw 652 passes last season, the most in the NFL. Yes, even more than the New England Patriots. Payton loves to throw the football, but that’s too much for his standards.
“You look up after a game and we’ve thrown it 51 times,” Payton said. “That’s too many.”