“sophomore slump” applied to him early this season.The 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year sounds certain his critics will have to eat those words as the season wears on.But he also agrees the numbers haven’t been pretty for New Orleans’ pass defense the past few weeks P. J. Williams Color Rush Jersey
, and as one of the stars of the secondary, he has to answer for that.“We’ve been doing some stuff out of character,” said Lattimore, referring specifically to mistakes in technique and ineffective communication among defensive backs.“We’ve just got to get on the same page and do certain things, like, together. And once we figure that out, we’re going to get it right. But it’s just got to start with playing with more swag. That eliminates everything. Playing with that confidence and going out there and getting it done.”New Orleans, which visits the New York Giants this week, ranks 30th against the pass, allowing 336.7 yards passing per game.Even more concerning to Saints coach Sean Payton is that the Saints rank last in the NFL in yards allowed per pass attempt, a result of some of the deep passes they’ve given up in all three games.There were touchdowns passes of 58 yards to Tampa Bay’s DeSean Jackson and 50 yards to Mike Evans in the opener; Tyrod Taylor’s 47-yard, game-tying touchdown to Antonio Callaway in the final minutes of a Week 2 matchup with Cleveland that the Saints ultimately pulled out; and a 75-yard scoring pass to Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley in Week 3.And those are just the scoring plays. Other deep throws produced big gains either on catches or pass interference penalties.Altogether, the Saints have yielded 45 or more yards on six different pass plays 鈥?one of them due to pass interference called on cornerback Ken Crawley.“If there’s only two things happening 鈥?a pass interference or completion 鈥?and there’s no interception opportunity, then teams are going to take multiple (deep) shots more and more and more https://www.thesaintsfanshop.com/Kurt-Coleman-Jersey
,” Payton said this week. “I don’t like the fact that we’ve had one takeaway after three games.“There are a handful of things that need improvement fast.”Saints defensive backs took no issue with Payton’s criticism.“It ain’t like he’s not telling the truth,” Lattimore said. “They see they can go deep and get a positive play out of it. I’d do the same thing playing us. But we’re going to turn it around. We’re going to get it right. I’m not really worried about that.”Safety Vonn Bell said he saw Payton’s expressions of concern as motivational.“We’ve got to change that 鈥?stop the deep balls, keep everything in front, make them throw the check-downs and get off the field,” Bell said.“And we’ve got to change that on the back end. Challenge accepted. Go out there, step up to the challenge and my cat don’t catch it. That’s all you got to do and we’ve got each other’s back.”And the improvement will have to come without top nickel back Patrick Robinson, a veteran acquired from Philadelphia in free agency who was placed on injured reserve after injuring his ankle last week.Giants veteran quarterback Eli Manning sounded hesitant to read too much into the small sample size of failure New Orleans’ secondary has put on video during the season’s opening three weeks 鈥?particularly because New Orleans has gone up against elite receivers such as Evans, Jackson and Atlanta’s Julio Jones, not to mention Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.“They’ve just gone against a couple of high-powered offenses that have good receivers and guys have won some battles,” Manning said.“They do a lot of different looks on defense, so we have got to be prepared for all of them and make sure we can hold up and hopefully give our guys some opportunities to win those one-on-one battles.”The Giants present the Saints with the challenge of covering another elite receiver 鈥?one who is all too well known in his native New Orleans. That would be Odell Beckham Jr., who went to the same high school as the Mannings before starring at LSU, and who had nine catches for 109 yards in New York’s victory over Houston last week.“Got to bang him up. Got to hit him. Got to get him frustrated, get him out of his game Sam Mills Jersey
,” Bell said.If the Saints can’t slow down Beckham, expect Manning to be the latest to try his hand at the deep ball against the Saints.Notes: Saints rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport (hip) and linebacker Manti Teo (knee) both missed practice on Thursday. Left guard Andrus Peat was limited by his sore ankle. Ryan Fitzpatrick backpedaled giddily for about 20 yards as he watched DeSean Jackson come down with a 36-yard touchdown pass over the middle. The journeyman quarterback then turned toward the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sideline and triumphantly thrust his arm in an upward arc.Time will tell if the Bucs are on a similar trajectory this season, but there’s no denying they’re off to an encouraging start.Fitzpatrick highlighted a 417-yard, four-touchdown performance with two scoring strikes of more than 50 yards, and the Buccaneers stunned the Saints 48-40 on Sunday.“I’m happy to announce: FitzMagic is alive and well,” Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said of his 35-year-old reserve quarterback, who was starting for suspended 2015 first-overall draft choice Jameis Winston. “Quite a start, huh?”Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 28 passes without an interception and also ran for a short touchdown, bowling over free safety Marcus Williams on his way into the end zone.“I hope somebody had him in fantasy because he went crazy today,” Bucs receiver Mike Evans said of Fitzpatrick. “And he was running the ball 鈥?phenomenal game. One of the most complete games I’ve seen.”Coming off a playoff appearance and hosting a team that won only five games last season, the Saints were among the more heavily favored teams in Week 1. But some of the Saints’ defensive players who were instrumental in New Orleans’ success a season earlier had a miserable start to 2018.Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the 2017 defensive rookie of the year, had trouble covering Evans, who caught seven passes for 147 yards Marcus Williams Color Rush Jersey
, including a 50-yard touchdown that put the Bucs up 41-24 late in the third quarter.“It isn’t going to get me down. Everybody gets beat,” Lattimore said. “We needed to get slapped in our face one good time to see we’re not on a level we think we’re on.”A season ago, Evans was so frustrated with coverage by Lattimore that he hit him after the whistle and wound up being suspended a game for it. After this latest meeting, Evans said, “I like my odds against anybody, not just him.”Jackson caught scoring passes of 58 and 36 yards to highlight his five-catch, 146-yard day before leaving with a concussion.Fitzpatrick also threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin.“The talent level in that huddle, with guys that can go up and make plays, it’s a pretty special group,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’m glad we showed it today, but now it’s about consistency.”COMEBACK BIDThe Saints put together a frantic offensive flurry in the fourth quarter, scoring twice on touchdowns by Alvin Kamara 鈥?the first a 1-yard run and the second a 7-yard catch, both followed by 2-point conversions. That cut the Saints’ deficit to eight points with 3:31 to go.On third-and-11, Fitzpatrick needed to make one more play 鈥?and did. He scrambled to his left for 12 yards at the two-minute warning. With New Orleans out of timeouts https://www.thesaintsfanshop.com/Manti-Te_O-Jersey
, Fitzpatrick was able to run out the clock.“That’s the type of game we’ve played in year’s past as a .500 team,” Saints coach Sean Payton said, alluding to three straight 7-9 seasons from 2014-16 before the Saints returned to the playoffs with 11 wins in 2017. “Nothing carries over from last year. I’ve said it a millions times.”STATS AND TRENDSThe combined 88 points set an NFL record for a regular-season opener, narrowly eclipsing Philadelphia’s 45-42 victory over Washington in September of 1947.New Orleans’ Drew Brees was 37 of 45 for 439 yards and three TDs. Kamara, the 2017 offensive rookie of the year, caught nine passes for 112 yards and one touchdown to go with two touchdown runs. Receiver Michael Thomas set a single-game franchise record by catching 16 passes for 180 yards and a TD, but turned the ball over on a fumble across midfield in the third quarter.Tampa Bay scored on six of its first seven possessions. The only Bucs drive of the first half that did not produce points was when they ran out the final 55 seconds before halftime. Tampa Bay did not punt until their eighth drive about halfway through the third quarter. The Bucs finished with eight passing plays of 20 or more yards.The Saints punted only once in the first half and trailed 31-24 at halftime after Thomas’ 6-yard touchdown catch.FUMBLED OPPORTUNITYWith Mark Ingram serving a four-game suspension for use of a banned substance, the Saints brought in running back Mike Gillislee after he was cut by New England. In his Saints debut, Gillislee fumbled in the second quarter on a hit by Vernon Hargreaves. Cornerback Justin Evans scooped up the loose ball and ran it back for a 34-yard TD.INJURIESBuccaneers: Hargreaves was helped to the locker room with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.Saints: New Orleans did not announce any injuries.UP NEXTBuccaneers: Host Philadelphia on Sunday.Saints: Host Cleveland on Sunday.