METAIRIE, La. ― As the Saints sit and watch the clock count down to 7:30 p.m. CST Monday, there’s one thing they won’t have to think about – are they a good at tackling or not.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Saturday prior to the team leaving for the West Coast that the Saints had only one play against the Vikings where they gave up yards after contact (seven yards), easily his best game in New Orleans and also a personal best for the long-time coach.
His previous best was two plays when he was coaching the Washington Redskins.
“Pretty special,” Williams said. “The record before that was two plays for six yards. I had a Redskins team do that one time in a game. One play. They tackled very, very, very well.”
“I think it says a lot when it comes from Gregg Williams,” Saints outside linebacker Scott Shanle said. “He has been around a long time and been around a lot of really good defenses.”
They’ll have to be sure-handed tacklers again against the 49ers. Running back Frank Gore is still considered a top-flight running back. He has rushed for 3,276 yards and 21 touchdowns since the beginning of the 2007 season.
Holding Minnesota running Adrian Peterson to 87 yards and no scores in the season-opener can only build the defense’s confidence, right?
“It does give you a little confidence in knowing that you have the ability to play well against good backs and good offenses,” Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis said.
Still, Shanle said the defense can improve.
“I don’t think a lot of guys realized that until we came in the next day and he showed us that stat,” he said. “It opens your eyes a little bit like, ‘Wow, we are pretty good. We tackled good.’
“When you look back at the game film, there are still things we can do better.”