The challenge of facing one of the best quarterbacks

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The challenge of facing one of the best quarterbacks

Messagede huangjian123 » Ven 7 Déc 2018 10:34

in NFL history and the league's highest-scoring offense is precisely why 36-year-old Terrell Suggs still gets a kick out of playing football.Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens' top-ranked defense take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in an intriguing matchup of first-place teams."They're the kind of explosive offense that gives you nightmares Cheap Josh LeRibeus Jersey ," Suggs said. "We get to play football against one of the premier quarterbacks. It's going to be a good, fun game."Suggs had one of Baltimore's 11 sacks last week in a 21-0 rout of Tennessee. The Ravens (4-2) are allowing an NFL-low 12.8 points and 270.8 yards per game and have given up only 12 second-half points."There's really no weakness," Brees said. "They do so many things well."The Saints (4-1) come off a bye with a four-game winning streak. New Orleans is averaging an NFL-best 36 points per game behind Brees, the league's career leader in yards passing with 72,103 yards ."It's definitely going to be a task there, but we're up for it," said Suggs, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker. "We like this game. We get the chance to compete against as good a team as there is."The prospect of facing the Saints and the 39-year-old Brees is enough to make Suggs feel young again."He's been here longer than me, so I won't be the old guy," Suggs said with a smile. "But definitely, I mean that just goes to his experience. He's mastered his craft. He's not showing age; he's just one of those ferocious, deadly quarterbacks in our league."Brees is 0-4 lifetime against the Ravens. When the teams last played, in November 2014, Suggs had six tackles and a sack in Baltimore's 34-27 victory."He's the ageless wonder," Brees said of Suggs. "He's still playing at such a high level deep in his career, and man, he's been doing it so well for so long. I'm obviously aware of that they are the only team that I haven't beaten, but they've always had a great team."Some other things to know about the Saints-Ravens game:DEVELOPING DEFENSEThe Saints' defense stumbled out of the gate, but has looked markedly better in the previous two games. New Orleans yielded averages of 421 yards and 34.3 points through its first three games, but allowed fewer than 300 yards and 20 points in each of the past two.The improvement could stem from increasing comfort within the scheme of a few new players, including veteran linebacker Demario Davis and rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport.New Orleans has been — at least statistically — the NFL's best against the run, allowing just 71.4 yards per game. One reason is that opponents have gone to the air on nearly two-thirds of their offensive plays against the league's 30th-ranked pass defense.HELLO, OLD FRIENDRavens wide receiver Willie Snead was once one of Brees' favorite targets. He left for Baltimore as a restricted free agent during the offseason, and now is catching passes from Joe Flacco."It's great to see him doing well and doing the things I'm sure a quarterback like Joe appreciates," Saints coach Sean Payton said.Snead intends to trade jerseys with Brees after the game."Absolutely," Brees said. "He's a stud, man. I love Willie."ELUSIVE ACHIEVEMENTBrees is trying to become just the third QB in NFL history to defeat every team in the league, joining Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.Now in his 13th season with the Saints after five years with the Chargers Cheap Vonn Bell Jersey , Brees is still searching for a victory against the Ravens."I would love to beat these guys," Brees said. "You always know it is going to be a slugfest."HOME AGAINComing off a three-game road trip, the Ravens play four of the next five at home, where they're 61-21 since coach John Harbaugh arrived in 2008."We get to play in front of our home fans, so that's going to be exciting," Suggs said. "It feels like it's been forever since they got the opportunity to see us play."EMERGING TARGETSIt took three games for free-agent acquisition Cameron Meredith to make his first catch with New Orleans and four games for third-round draft choice Tre'Quan Smith to make his initial reception.Now it appears as if they've got the hang of it. Smith had touchdowns of 62 and 35 yards against Washington, and Meredith had five catches for 71 yards, including a 46-yard gain. Their emergence has strengthened a receiving group led by Michael Thomas, who leads the club with 46 catches for 519 yards.AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.New Orleans vs. Tampa Bay matchups: Saints defense vs. Buccaneers offense The New Orleans Saints begin their 2018 season with a division showdown at home this Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints are coming off an NFC South winning 11-5 season, and are considered to be a Super Bowl favorite. One reason why is because of a vastly improved defense that finished 10th in points allowed, and that looks to have gotten better this offseason. Opposing New Orleans will be the Buccaneers, who were expected to push for a playoff berth a year ago, but instead stumbled to a 5-11 finish. Tampa's weakness is expected to be on the defensive side of the ball, and they do have some dangerous weapons in the passing game. Unfortunately for Bucs fans, they will also be without starting quarterback Jameis Winston for this game, and the first three games of the season due to violation of the league's personal conduct policy. Today, let's have a peek at how the New Orleans defensive unit matches up against the Buccaneers offensive weapons. SAINTS RUN DEFENSE vs. BUCCANEERS RUSHING OFFENSE Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesThe Saints ranked 16th in the league at defending the run last year, and had their struggles against rushing attacks at times. They surrendered 4.4 yards per opposing run attempt, ranking just 28th, and often gave up big runs early in games. Despite great improvement up front and in the secondary, the New Orleans linebacking corps still had some struggles last year, and the unit dealt with some injury problems. Rookie 3rd round pick Alex Anzalone went down for the year in the season's third game, and A.J. Klein missed four games, along with being limited in others. Anzalone and Klein both return, rejoining versatile defender Craig Robertson and Manti Te'o, who was a solid run defender for the New Orleans defense last year. The Saints upgraded their linebacking corps by adding Demario Davis in the offseason. Davis has had at least 100 tackles in four of the last five seasons, including an NFL 3rd-best 135 stops a year ago. He is a fast and aggressive sideline to sideline every down defender capable of playing any linebacking spot, and should give the team a playmaker at the position that's they've lacked. The Saints cornerbacks are good tacklers and solid run defenders Cheap Austin Carr Jersey , but they are often employed in man coverage, and could at times be taken away from a run play. They're ability to lock down opposing wideouts one on one however, could allow a safety such as Vonn Bell to play closer to the line of scrimmage as an extra defender against the run. Cameron Jordan has been best known for his pass rushing ability, but the truth is that he is one of the best all-around defensive ends in football. Both Alex Okafor and Trey Hendrickson are very good run defenders at end opposite Jordan, but the Saints have to answer some questions inside. Tackle Tyeler Davison is an outstanding run defender, and both Sheldon Rankins and David Onyemata are solid inside as well, but were guilty at times of getting caught off balance, giving opposing blockers the advantage. Tampa Bay ranked 27th in rushing yardage (1,448) and yards per carry (3.7) a year ago, and ran for just 8 scores. Third year back Peyton Barber returns as the starter, and led the team in rushing last year with 423 yards and 3 scores. Jacquizz Rodgers comes back as well, but the Buccaneers hope that second round pick Ronald Jones will add a dynamic element to their running game after three straight seasons of over 980 yards rushing for the University of Southern California. Bucs running backs failed to rush for a single score in two meetings with the Saints last year, averaging less than four yards per carry and less than 100 yards on the ground. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports~Matchup to Watch: Saints LB's vs. Buccaneer RB's~ The Saints linebackers were still somewhat inconsistent this preseason, and will continue to be the defense's weak link until they prove otherwise. Athletically and talent-wise, they appear to be the best linebacking corps the team has had in quite some time, but they must be able to prevent opposing runners from breaking off big gains, or from being major contributors in the passing game. The Saints ability to shut down what looks to be a weak Tampa Bay running attack will make them one dimensional, which wouldn't bode well for a team that will be missing it's starting quarterback. SAINTS PASS DEFENSE vs. BUCCANEERS PASS OFFENSE Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesNew Orleans ranked 17th in pass defense in 2017, but more importantly than that ranking was the fact that they created pressure on their opponents. The Saints sacked opposing quarterbacks 42 times, and intercepted 20 passes, good for third in the NFL. Cam Jordan had the first All-Pro season of his stellar career, and was the focal point of the team's pressure up front. His 13 sacks were a career high, and he was often able to deflect or alter throws when he didn't bring down opposing signal callers. The Saints finally found an answer at defensive end opposite Jordan last season. Alex Okafor was having the best season of his career when he went down with an Achilles injury in the team's tenth game. His 4.5 sacks was still good for second on the defense, and he looks to be fully recovered. Trey Hendrickson got off to a slow start during his rookie year, but had a very strong preseason to make many believe that he is primed for a strong 2018 campaign. New Orleans also traded up in this spring's draft to select edge rusher Marcus Davenport with the 14th pick. Davenport was limited through the preseason with injury, but showed exciting potential over the last two exhibition games. Rankins and Onyemata only combined for 4 sacks last season, but showed the potential to be a disruptive tandem inside, and each had a fine preseason to promote those expectations. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen likes to employ an aggressive scheme that relies on man coverage and at times a high percentage of blitzing. That strategy is successful Cheap Sheldon Rankins Jersey , of course, only with solid coverage in the secondary, and New Orleans has one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Marshon Lattimore. The 11th overall draft pick a year ago, Lattimore led the Saints with five interceptions and 18 pass breakups, along with shutting down some of the best wideouts in the league. Ken Crawley blossomed into a solid cover man to compliment Lattimore in his second season, and the team expects the same sort of improvement from Arthur Maulet and P.J. Williams this season. New Orleans also added Patrick Robinson this offseason as a free agent this offseason. Robinson, who played for the Saints from 2010-14, was one of the better slot corners in the league last season with Philadelphia. The team's cornerbacks benefit from solid play behind them at safety. Vonn Bell is an outstanding blitzer, finishing tied for second with Okafor in sacks last year, and can also provide effective slot coverage. Kurt Coleman was added in free agency from Carolina to give the Saints another veteran player on the back end, and second year free safety Marcus Williams is a ballhawking playmaker who looks to be on the verge of stardom. The Saints coverage will be tested by a Buccaneers receiving corps that is as dangerous as any in the game. Wide receiver Mike Evans is a big, physical target considered to be one of the top wideouts in the conference. DeSean Jackson is a veteran deep threat still capable of blowing the top off a defensive coverage, and Chris Godwin looks like a breakout candidate after a good rookie season. Adam Humphries is an underrated wideout from the slot, and the Bucs have two dangerous threats at tight end in Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard. Tampa Bay's passing game ranked 4th in the NFL last season, but they will be without starting quarterback Jameis Winston for the season's first three games. Replacing him is veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has shown the potential throughout his career to get hot and tear a defense apart. Tampa's offensive line must do a better job keeping their passers upright after giving up 40 sacks a year ago. The Saints recorded six sacks in their two games against the Buccaneers a year ago, including two on Fitzpatrick when he stepped in for an injured and ineffective Winston in the team's first meeting last year while holding them to just 135 net yards through the air. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images~Matchup to Watch: Marshon Lattimore vs. Mike Evans This is a marquee showdown between two of the top players at their respective positions. Lattimore held the pro bowl receiver to just one catch for 13 yards in their first meeting last season, frustrating Evans to the point of a physical confrontation. Evans had some success in the season finale against New Orleans with 5 receptions, but was still contained to just 55 yards. The 25-yr. old Evans just signed a contract extension with the Bucs this offseason, setting the stage for an intense personal rivalry with the Saints star cornerback for years to come. WHAT TO LOOK FORPhoto by Brian Blanco/Getty ImagesThe Saints ability to shut down a pedestrian Buccaneers rushing attack early is key to their defensive success. Despite the receiving talent that the Buccaneers possess, the strength of the New Orleans defense looks like their pass defense, especially against a backup quarterback that has been prone to turnovers throughout his career. Lattimore has the ability to contain Evans again, leaving the rest of the Saints secondary to focus on the other Tampa threats. New Orleans will put heavy pressure on Fitzpatrick, increasing the likelihood of turnovers or big plays. The Saints defense was impressive throughout the preseason and training camp, particularly against the pass. The team has both the talent and athleticism to potentially be one of the top defensive units in the NFL, and will look to make a strong statement to open what they hope will be a championship run in 2018.
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