We did a lot of dumb things, but fortunately our defense did a lot of good things, Payton said.

You must dig deep in Saints history to find that kind of analysis tumbling from Payton’s mouth.
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Elite Kids Jean Beliveau Jersey It’s a rejuvenation led by defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and terrorizing defensive end Cam Jordan and rookie cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Authentic Jersey Marshon Lattimore. It’s a fresh mindset, a new attitude. It has the Saints chirping about a new defensive swagger.

Payton said his question entering this season was not if the Saints defense would be better but how?

Russell had more touchdowns (13) than interceptions (9) but completed just 53.8 percent of his passes and fumbled nine times. His Total QBR for the year was a league-worst 29.2.

The team’s identity for the past several years has been the strength of its defense. The Texans have been able to win an admittedly weak AFC South and land in the playoffs with a 9-7 record the past two seasons with quarterback play that was often laughably poor. The defense was so good that it didn’t matter.

Elite Kids Corey Moore Jersey That’s not the case this year. Deshaun Watson at quarterback has transformed the offense and made it one of the most fun to watch in the league. But last season’s top defense is middle-of-the-pack in 2017, ranked No. 15 in total defense.

It’s a tight race in the AFC South right now. The Texans are sitting a full game behind the Jaguars and have the same record as the Titans and Colts. The Texans were already without linebacker Brian Cushing, who is serving a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Losing Watt and Mercilus doesn’t help.

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