Ten days later, Saints face Dungy’s defense again

By Chris Cluff  |   Friday, September 14, 2007  |  Comments( 1 )

New Orleans Saints
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Seldom does a chance at revenge come so swiftly.

Yeah, the New Orleans Saints' supposedly prolific offense got dominated by Tony Dungy's defense in the season opener, leading to an embarrassing 41-10 loss. But, after 10 days of reflection and tape review, the Saints will get another chance at Dungy's defense this weekend.

No, the Saints aren't playing Dungy's Indianapolis Colts again, but they are facing the Tampa Bay defense he built way back in 1996 and has replicated in Indy. So, in that sense, the Saints' offense gets an immediate chance to make up for its failure in the opener by taking it out on Dungy's old defense.

While Dungy's Colts are a very young, very active bunch that came out aggressively and knocked Drew Brees & Co. all over the field, the Buccaneers are a shell of the great defense that dominated the NFL - and spawned so many copycats - for most of the past decade.

Only linebacker Derrick Brooks and cornerback Ronde Barber remain from the glory days, and Brooks has lost a step at age 34.

So the Saints will see the same scheme, but not the same players. And that means Brees, Reggie Bush and the gang should rebound nicely.

Against Indy, Brees completed 28 of 41 passes for just 192 yards and zero touchdowns, while Bush and Deuce McAllister each gained a meager 38 rushing yards. They are looking for much better performances against a Tampa defense that gave up 343 yards to Seattle in a 20-6 season-opening loss.

The Saints won 31-14 at Raymond James Stadium last November, with Brees throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns. McAllister has been successful against Tampa, eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark four times in eight starts against the Bucs. Last October, he ran for 123 yards and a touchdown, and Bush returned a punt for a touchdown in the Saints' 24-21 home win.

The Saints already have had success against Dungy's old defense, and they will be eager to replicate it Sunday.

"Our guys want to redeem themselves," Brees told reporters.

No better way to do it than against the same defense that just shut them down.
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About Chris Cluff

Chris Cluff spent 10 years as an editor and sportswriter for The Seattle Times. He was a key figure in the newspaper's coverage of the Seahawks, particularly during their Super Bowl run in 2005. He also has written two books on the Seahawks: "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Heart-Pounding,...
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