Saints bring the blitz ... but Stafford thrives on it

Posted Jan 5, 2012

It’s well documented that Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams likes to dial up a blitz or two.

How well the Lions handle it is one of the keys to Saturday's game.

“Certainly, one of the things if you want to be a really good offense is you've got to hurt the blitz when they do bring it,” said Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan. “They are going to blitz. It is going to be at least half the time, if not more. So we've got to be ready for it.”

The part about the Saints’ blitz that makes it effective isn’t the number of times they bring it, but rather how they disguise it.

“They’ll try to make Matt decide on what he wants to do pre-snap and then drop people back, bait him into throws, cut underneath receivers and try to get their hands on balls,” said Lions receiver Nate Burleson.

Burleson said Wednesday that he’s hoping the Saints blitz even more than they did the last time these two played, which was below their average.

“(Stafford) is a quarterback who invites (the blitz),” Burleson said. “I’ve played with a lot of quarterbacks and some quarterbacks have a demeanor about them that changes when they see blitzes. But (Stafford) gets excited because he knows he has run-and-catch receivers.

“When we’re on the sideline, he’s like ‘hey guys, be aware if they bring the house I’m going to get this ball out quick and make something happen.’ He has this smirk on his face like ‘I hope they do it.’”

Stafford threw for 408 yards and a touchdown in the first matchup and was sacked three times, twice on blitzes.

“They’re a team that’s out there to try to give you a bunch of looks, something you can’t hone in on,” Stafford said of the Saints defense. “You have to be ready for everything, all looks and all coverages. That’s part of the fun of it as a quarterback, trying to get it out and get it to the right guys.”

The Lions need to catch the Saints in the wrong blitz with the right call at least once or twice on Saturday if they want to pull off the upset.