Just how bad is the Saints defense? Here are the atrocious numbers

For the first time since October, the New Orleans Saints will NOT surrender 40-plus points this week. I can guarantee you that only because the Saints do not in fact play this week. Otherwise, there’d be no reason to expect a defense that has given up an insane 116 points in its last three games wouldn’t be victimized again, regardless of its opponent.

The Saints fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to kick off the bye, which when you consider Ryan’s horrendous track record was undoubtedly the right move. But it also won’t fix the problem.

See, this is simply a terrible unit — one that’s been gutted several times over in recent years as a result of salary cap jams. They tried to toss on a Band-Aid with high-priced 2014 free agent Jairus Byrd, but that back-loaded contract was always — at best — serenity now, insanity later. Instead, Byrd — when healthy (rare) — has been a shell of his former Buffalo self.

Insanity now, more insanity later.

Same applies to Brandon Browner, who the Saints purchased at an inflated Super Bowl price in the offseason. Browner leads the league with 16 penalties and has been destroyed in coverage.

And it gets worse.

Rookie first-round pick Stephone Anthony? Useless. Former draft sensation and 2013 first-rounder Kenny Vaccaro? Still a bust. Expensive linebacker Dannell Ellerbe? Ineffective. Veteran cornerback Keenan Lewis? Can’t stay healthy.

So these numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone:

  • They’re on pace to give up 504 points, which would be the third-highest total in NFL history.
  • They’re on pace to give up 6,788 yards, which would be the second-highest total of all time, behind only…the 2012 Saints.
  • Since the start of 2012, they’ve given up a league-high 739 points (nobody else is above 700), a league-high 10,387 yards (only one other team is above 10,000) and only four teams have recorded fewer takeaways.

It’s just sad, and with the aging offense needing major upgrades and probably taking precedence, there doesn’t appear to be much light at the end of the tunnel.

So yeah. Good luck, Dennis Allen.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.