Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s unit isn’t off to a strong start, with one strong game (the opener), a mixed-success game (against Tampa Bay) and two other bad ones (St. Louis and Cincinnati). Haslett wasn’t too disappointed in their performance against the Bucs.
Here are some highlights from his media presser Thursday. Haslett on:
The Tampa Bay game: “We played really well in the first half and did a nice job in the second half, but gave up two big plays again. Overall it was one of our better games. Not as good as the Saints game. We did a good job in the run game.”
Pass rushing when teams keep a lot of blockers in, as Tampa did: “You take two approaches. You can send everybody and always have one more than they have or you can back off. That’s what we did. We three- and four-man rushed a lot and played coverage. They were sending three and four out and we had five, six and seven [in coverage].”
The impact of losing Brandon Meriweather in pre-game: “We knew Meriweather would play. We had plans for him. He becomes our third corner in a lot of situations so we had to scrap that stuff. You’re sitting in the locker room crossing things off and adding things that you can do. Then we decided go to with Reed as the starter. It changed plans. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Meriweather’s great strength is that he’s an ex-cover corner and a really good cover guy. We lost that.”
The front’s pass rush: “I don’t know if that’s fair. Last week we stopped the run game and they got the ball out of their hand. The first week was seven-step drops. St. Louis was quick, quick, quick, quick. Cincinnati threw a couple deep balls, but [was also quick]. Obviously that’s a credit to them, saying that you have to be a pretty good pass-rush group. Stephen has been active, Ryan’s done a nice job so far. So that’s a credit to those guys that teams are looking at you that way.”
On Roddy White and Julio Jones: “One is big and athletic [White] and can go up and catch the ball the other is really fast, great route runner, make all the catches and maybe the two best blocking receivers in the National Football League. They go up and throw their body around. They’re tough, they’re physical. They have a mean streak to them. It’s a great challenge for our back end to see if we can control these two.”
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