Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
METAIRIE, La. – When the Houston Texans ran roughshod over, though and around the Saints defense in the second preseason game, questions were raised as to whether New Orleans had moved past the Seattle playoff loss.
The Texans ran for 208 yards, including Ben Tate’s 95 yards on nine carries for a robust 10.6 yard-per-carry average.
Tackling was an issue.
A little more than two weeks later, the defense says its house is in order. Tackling, they say, won’t be an issue anymore.
“People are going to paint it because they’re not in this building, they’re not in this locker room, they’re not in the meeting rooms with us, they don’t know what we’re showcasing and what we’re not showcasing,” cornerback Tracy Porter said. “The only thing they see is guys missing tackles, the scoreboard, the score at the end of the game and they want to say, ‘Oh, the defense isn’t ready. Oh the offense isn’t ready. Oh what’s going to happen this season.’
“But they don’t know everything that goes into preparing for a game.
A week later versus Oakland, the first-team didn’t appear to have advanced much.
The Raiders first-team offense gained 195 totally yards, with Michael Bush tallying 32 yards on five carries. And Oakland’s top running back Darren McFadden didn’t play.
Still, heading into Thursday’s season opener at reigning Super Bowl champion Green Bay, safety Malcolm Jenkins believes the defense has made enough progress.
“I don’t think we’ve tackled the way we wanted to in this preseason,” Jenkins said. “But I think it has gotten better. The first game was knocking off the rust. It got gradually better as the season went along.”
He added, “We always tell ourselves there’s no such thing as a missed tackle as long as we all run to the ball. I think we’re making aggressive misses. It’s not just people with bad form.
“I’m comfortable with where we are right now.”
Jenkins and cornerback Jabari Greer both said the team has worked on fundamentals in regard to correcting tackling issues. Neither would get into specifics, though.