New Orleans rode three defensive touchdowns to a win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday and with Cam Jordan terrorizing the edge and a rookie corner becoming a star, the Saints have gone from a laughingstock on defense to a legitimately dangerous unit.
The Minnesota Vikings attacked Brett Hundley early and often, sending extra rushers — often Harrison Smith or other pre-snap disguises — to create confusion along the line and sow doubt in the mind of the quarterback.
But the book on rookie quarterbacks, at least in terms of general NFL wisdom, is to play coverage. NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks, a former NFL scout and Packers player in the 1990’s, expects the Saints to stick with what works.
“Typically with young quarterbacks, you want to play coverage and make them fit it into tight windows. You want to see them to get to the top of their drops and see bodies,” he explains.
“The Saints are going to continue to blitz him and see if they can withstand the pressure. But in saying all of that, you also give up big play opportunities, especially against a quarterback who can escape with those running skills and athleticism.”
Brooks is quick to point out the one big knock he had on Hundley coming out of UCLA was his penchant to hold onto the ball and take sacks. That means New Orleans may not have to blitz to create pressure.
“There was a time during his collegiate career when he was trying to show people he could stay in the pocket and was afraid to use his legs. So that backfired and he took a lot of sacks.”
That being said, Brooks was optimistic Hundley could succeed in this Packers offense and has been pleased with the development he’s seen from the former UCLA star.
“I thought he was very impressive in the preseason. In fact, I was surprised at how good he looked as a pro compared to what I thought he might be based on him as a collegian.
“He got the ball out of his hands quickly. He has a good feel for where to go with it. He wasn’t indecisive in the pocket at all. He played the game the right way at the position.”
Brooks added that if Hundley can excel on throws under 10 yards, something he says all great quarterbacks can do, then this offense can keep humming with Hundley at the helm.
If Hundley is getting the ball out quickly, the Saints may adjust their scheme to play more coverage and force Hundley to hold it longer, giving players like Jordan a chance to get home off the edge.