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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Saints defensive line going back to basics

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posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 03:27 PM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - John Pease was with the New Orleans Saints during their glory years. He hopes to be able to say that about his latest stint with the team as well.

Pease, the new defensive line coach for the Saints, held that same position under Jim Mora in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The defensive line then, known as the Dome Patrol, helped the Saints to its first winning season and its first division crown. With Pease on the staff, the Saints advanced to the playoffs four times including three of Pease's last five years. Saints' defensive units were the league's best in 1990-91.

"We had a good defense in those days," Pease said. "I think we have another one now. The guys I've seen since I got back have really impressed me with their size and speed. I'm kind of holding my breath to see if they can come through like they show."

Pease spent eight years with Jacksonville before being fired as part of Tom Coughlin's staff. He then sat out a year. His Jaguars defense was as successful as his old Saints defensive line. Pease said his policy was to rotate ends and tackles. Under that system, the Jaguars had averaged 42 sacks a year.

"We used to rotate those guys and what would happen was that they'd have a big series in the fourth quarter," Pease said. "They'd have something left by the end. And by the end of the season we'd played them about one game less than a full 16-game season. So you're spreading out the bruises."

It's a plan Pease hopes to use with the Saints, especially at defensive end where Darren Howard, Charles Grant and this year's No. 1 draft choice, Will Smith, are vying for playing time.

"If they're all good enough, why not?" Pease said.

Pease had other offers before deciding to head back to New Orleans. He was a candidate for defensive line coach with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. He was also in the running for defensive coordinator jobs with the Kansas City Chiefs and St. Louis Rams.

"For us, he's just what the doctor ordered," said defensive coordinator Rick Venturi. "Obviously the experience factor, but John just brings a great energy to the job."

When it comes to his job, Pease said nothing has changed. He's got the same philosophy, the same way of working.

"I really believe in strong fundamentals, working hard and doing it the right way, and being answerable to your teammates" Pease said.

Pease's demand for hard work and perfection showed up early in the offseason work and minicamp, Howard said.

"We do a lot of drills in a short period of time," Howard said. "It makes you happy to get to team period and get away from his individual workouts."

Pease is a tough taskmaster, coach Jim Haslett said, but he also has the ability to get players to rally around him and embrace his ideas.

"He brings energy to the group, he brings discipline to the group," Haslett said. "He's old school, which is really what the game is revolving back to.

The tough spring will get tougher when training camp begins.

"If we just keep working hard like we are right now, we'll be fine," Grant said. "We'll be in the top three lines in the NFL."

Pease isn't willing to make that kind of prediction. He thinks there is a lot of athletic ability on the Saints defensive line, but he knows that isn't enough.

"Talent-wise they're as good as any I've been around," Pease said. "But the critical thing is what will they do with it. I've been around talented players who haven't produced and average players who have. Talent's nice, but the ones that can play football are the ones you're looking for. That's what it takes. That's why there are a lot of talented guys that are working at 7-11."


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