Saints defense will have tough test in red zone against Giants

Saints defense will have tough test in red zone against Giants

Credit: AP

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams (19) is tackled by New Orleans Saints cornerback Jabari Greer (33) during the first quarter of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

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wwltv.com

Posted on November 26, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 26 at 2:34 PM

Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
bhandwerger@wwltv.com | @wwltvsports

METAIRIE, La. ― The Saints’ defense has spent much of the season defending its red-zone honor, living near the bottom of the statistical charts in giving up touchdowns per trip.

But in the past two games, something has changed.

The Saints defense has allowed only one touchdown in five trips by their opponent.

Linebacker Jonathan Casillas said coordinator Gregg Williams has focused more of practice on red zone situations, going from just a handful a week to between 15 and 30 snaps.

“Since we’re focusing on it a lot more, practicing it a lot more, repping it a lot more, I think you’re seeing a lot more detail and crsip assignments,” Casillas said.

New Orleans enters Monday’s game against the New York Giants as the NFL’s  28th-ranked red-zone defense.

Yet, the number is somewhat skewed.

Only one team has allowed fewer trips inside the 20 all year (Pittsburgh’s 22). The Saints have allowed 15 touchdowns in those 24 trips, however.

The Saints are striving to improve that number.

“Practice always makes perfect,” Casillas said. “That’s what people say. You’ll never get to perfect. Everybody always tries to get to perfect. You strive for perfection and get excellence. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Atlanta went 0-for-3 in trips inside the 20 in New Orleans’ last game. Tampa Bay was 1 of 2.

This after St. Louis was 3-for-3 in beating New Orleans 31-21.

The challenge this week will be to stop one of the top red-zone offenses in the NFL. The Giants are tied for 6th in the NFL, scoring touchdowns on 18 of 31 trips inside the red zone.

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