I keep reading the same comments on rivals board, but yet nobody can elaborate.
The Saints lost their best defensive player to the IR. (Will Smith )
yet they go 10 an 6 with a converting 3 -4 defense without 3-4 personnel.
First off, lets get the Will Smith was best player thing out the way. Last year he was worst graded guy on entire team and ranked 108 out of 109 of all 4-3 DE's. the only thing he brought was veteran leadership since he's been with team for a while, but he was last year WORST player on defense. To put it in perspective, Gallette had more sacks and about the same QB pressures in just 460 snaps compared to Smiths 1089 snaps.
Now for the "they don't have 3-4 personnel" statement.
As for personnel, lets break it down. The DBs are not affected by 3-4 or 4-3 and with addition of Vacarro, Greer healthy, P Rob looking decent in preseason, Corey White continuing the improvement streak started last 3 games of last year, and finally Ryan understanding Harper is best used near the line in run support and blitz and not in coverage, the DB group will be fine.
Now for the 3-4 personnel, the front 3 not only have looked solid, we have guys with future breakout status not only playing but in that depth. Cam and Hicks have been great with Bunkley solid in middle with some young raw talent behind them. I don't think with the guys at front 3 anyone would say we don't have good guys up there or lack personnel.
Finally the one glaring weakness is obviously the 4 LBs. Lofton is experienced and pretty solid 3 down LB on inside, but the other guys are question marks with no full time playing and both OLB spending preseason hurt. In limited play Tez and Gallette have both put up great numbers and Gallette has played about half of the snaps last year, but Tez only played a little over 100 snaps of a 1100 snap season, so they are unproven as full year players.
Then Vilmas spot is biggest question mark, is he healthy enough to play after another knee surgery? The good news is Hawthorne is a vet that played great in preseason and can play either inside or outside.
So bottom line, I believe we have the guys for 3-4, yet the LB core is the only question due to lack of playtime and not much depth. On the other hand most defensive plays are in sub packages, so base 3-4 isn't a big alignment anyway, and the play so farchas been really good at most positions,
So name the exact position the Saints don't have to play 3-4?