NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The $33 million signing of three-time All-Pro and Super Bowl champion safety Tyrann Mathieu instantly bolstered a talented Saints defense already regarded as one of the stingiest in the league → fourth in the NFL in points allowed.
Led by new head coach Dennis Allen, who was the team’s defensive coordinator for the past six and a half seasons under Sean Payton, the defense allowed just 318.2 yards per game (7th in the league), 93.5 of which were on the ground (4th), 20 touchdowns (3rd), 304 first downs (2nd), and was first in red-zone efficiency.
However, the pass defense was average. The team allowed 224.8 yards per game, which ranked 14th in the 32-team league.
The addition of Mathieu to a secondary anchored by Marshon Lattimore, Paulson Adebo, P.J. Williams and 2022 second-round draft pick Alontae Taylor (University of Tennessee) at the corners, and fellow safeties C.J. Gardner-Johnson and former New York Jets franchise player Marcus Maye, the defensive backfield is no longer an Achilles and a potent defense just became intentionally dominant.
“This roster is really constructed in the right way,” said the recently turned 30-year-old (May 13) Mathieu after the third day of Offseason Training Activities (OTAs) on Thursday. “We have pieces really all over on all three levels on both sides of the ball.
“It’s about coming together as a team, buying into what the coaches are preaching and just believing in that,” the former St. Aug standout and LSU Tiger continued. “The teams that believe in that are the teams that we see play every playoff, every Sunday.
“If we could be one of those teams, I think we have the talent to make a good run.”