In just three preseason games, the Saints defense will have faced off against four of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and their top-calibre targets. The efficiency exhibited by the QBs (Brees, Brady, Schaub, and Rivers) and their trusty receivers has caused major headaches for opposing secondaries who are often left scratching their heads while trying to figure out how to stop the potent passing attacks.
It’s been no easy task for the Saints defense thus far, considering they’ve been defending against the #1, #3, and #4 passing offenses from 2009 in Houston, New England, and New Orleans respectively, with #5 San Diego next in line. Certainly, they are getting some great practice facing off against some of the best in the game at this early stage. Not only do they get the chance to enhance their own play, but they also have the opportunity to gauge their level of play. If they show well against the elite offenses in the NFL, then they know they’re headed in the right direction.
Saints cornerbacks, Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter seem to be doing just that. In 2009, the duo combined to allow just one touchdown pass during the regular season! I shudder to think what kind of stats they would have posted had they remained healthy; they missed a combined 11 games due to injury. Despite the fact that the team found ways to win in their absences, it was quite obvious when the dynamic playmakers weren’t in the game. The secondary suffered greatly and looked downright lethargic at times.
As for now they’re healthy and steadily gaining the respect they deserve. Houston’s Andre Johnson said of the two last week,
“Would I say they’re underrated? Yeah, I would say that, because they don’t get the recognition they deserve. It’s great to go against those guys. If you look at their season last year, those guys played very big for them.”
I couldn’t agree more with that assessment. Both were solid all season and no one will forget Porter’s NFC Championship game and Superbowl performances. Their abilities to read and jump routes have elevated them to being arguably two of the top corners in the league, planting the seed “passers beware!” Those skills are only going to get better as they continue to grow and learn. I think Texans Coach Gary Kubiak said it best last week when he spoke on the subject,
“They’re playmakers. They do a great job on the ball, you can tell. They do a great job breaking on the ball if they’re close. You know the difference between good corners and great corners is great corners make the play on the ball, make the pick.”
Well we’ve seen Greer and Porter make the play on the ball and make picks time after time. Now they’re getting noticed. It’s going to be interesting to watch as they will no longer be considered just good corners, but recognized as great corners.