Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
firstname.lastname@example.org | @wwltvsports
METAIRIE, La. ― Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins would like those who follow his team to know one thing.
They know. They understand. They’re doing what they can to fix it.
He’s talking about the lack of interceptions New Orleans has grabbed heading into Week 12’s home nationally televised game against the New York Giants.
“Before you guys caught wind of it, we caught wind of it,” Jenkins said. “We’ve already gotten frustrated, tried some new things and gotten over it.”
The Saints sit next-to-last in the NFL with only five interceptions; only Pittsburgh’s four pickoffs are fewer.
But one man’s trash is another man’s gold and for the Saints, the lack of interceptions isn’t a good stat, but the defense has been there, creating tons of pass breakups.
“I think we’re at least in the top one or two in PBUs as far as the secondary goes,” Jenkins said. “We’re making plays. We’re around the ball. It’s to the point now where we’ve just got to catch them.”
According to the website NFLGSIS.com, the Saints rank eighth with 55 passes defensed. And Saints cornerback Jabari Greer is tied for fourth-best in the NFL with 14.
Still, the Saints would like to get the interception total up to 2009 standards, a season in which they had 26 interceptions on their way to 39 takeaways for the year.
Cornerback Tracy Porter said you can’t discount the mental aspect at this point in the season, though he credits each individual player’s outlook with moving beyond.
“It can be,” Porter said. “You know you’re not catching them and you get down. But that’s just the attitude you have. If you have that attitude feel sorry for me, then you’re going to continue to have problems. But if you continue to work at it and know it’s going to come and have those high spirits, eventually your time will come.”
The Saints’ defensive backs work on catching the ball daily and on Friday, pulled out a rarely-used drill, one in which an assistant lofts a pass to a back-pedaling defensive back, who must then jump high to catch the ball.
Coach Sean Payton said it’s just one of a number of things the Saints defense does to work on catching the ball.
“Those skill groups can’t spend enough time on the JUGS machines post-practice and pre-practice,” Payton said. “It’s something that not only are you on the JUGS machines, but you have to vary the distance you are operating from it and really create what are game-like opportunities as opposed to just ten yards away catching bullets thrown at you. Hopefully it’s something that can come in numbers and we can get a few of those as we hit this next stretch of the season.”