This past Monday night’s painful loss by the New Orleans Saints at the hands of their hated arch-rivals the Atlanta Falcons; has caused many people to focus on what was yet another pathetic performance by the Saints defense.
The NFL is often a season of attrition, with the mantra of “next man up” applying to every team.
Sheldon Rankins, Tyeler Davison, Delvin Breaux, PJ Williams, Damian Swann, Hau’oli Kikaha, and Kenny Vaccaro are players that are either starters, or ones that were heavily expected to be major contributors — to what Saints fans thought would be a greatly improved defense.
So to subsequently be without ALL of them, and some of them for the remainder of the year; is causing coordinator Dennis Allen to be very limited in his game-planning for opponents from week-to-week.
The poor free agent spending and draft decisions that the Saints front office had made has made this team extremely thin, and thus incapable of handling even the loss of two or three starters, let alone seven of them.
However, it has become increasingly evident that there is one player who epitomizes this string of awful personnel moves in recent years: starting free safety Jairus Byrd.
Oct 4, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Jairus Byrd (31) before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Byrd is now in his 8th NFL season. And to be rather blunt, someone should really look into bringing this man up on charges of theft — for his 3 years in a Saints uniform in which he has essentially stolen tens of millions of dollars , because we have yet to see him EARN a single dollar of his salary.
Byrd was signed to a lucrative free agent contract away from the Buffalo Bills in the off-season of 2014, mostly because of his “ball hawk” play-making abilities in the secondary.
In his first five seasons in Buffalo, Byrd had 22 interceptions.
In his third year as a Saint, he has 1 interception total — as in only one.
The statistic of ‘passes defended’ can be somewhat subjective I’ll admit; but Byrd was credited with 33 of them in Buffalo — but has only managed a meager total of 5 with New Orleans.
Byrd’s top two tackling seasons with the Bills tallied 98 and 89, respectively. Jairus Byrd has a grand total of 92 tackles in his entire Saints career up to this point. Grant it, he missed a majority of 2014, but certainly it’s quite evident where I’m going with this.
The defensive schemes run by New Orleans often calls for funneling plays so that the inside linebackers and safeties are free to roam and contain plays.
These statistics tell me that Jairus Byrd not only isn’t making plays, but he doesn’t even have a desire to be anywhere NEAR them. That ladies and gentlemen, is inexcusable (and hence my comment about “stealing” the Saints’ money).
Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints free safety Jairus Byrd (31) against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Moreso than just statistically, this player appears now to have become an absolute liability any time a play comes into the secondary.
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Delvin Breaux’s leg injury in the Raiders opener forced the defense to go into almost exclusive zone coverage to protect an undermanned and inexperienced secondary.
Sadly, it wasn’t first year, undrafted, inexperienced cornerbacks Ken Crawley or De’Vante Harris that were often woefully out of position, but it was #31 who was.
Those that watched the Falcons debacle need not be reminded of the countless times we saw the “veteran” safety taking grotesquely bad angles in coverage or tackle support.
Not to mention the well-publicized missed tackle on which he got completely embarrassed by Atlanta RB Devonta Freeman — who “juked” Byrd so badly that he was frozen in place and then crumpled to the turf like a 75-year old man who just overdosed on an entire bottle of Cialis.
So — why does Byrd still have a starting job in the Saints secondary again? I must have missed it.
Seriously, it’s a question that really needs to be answered.
We have heard the cries that the team has so much “dead money” already.
Yes, that’s true, but those particular mistakes were eventually corrected; with CJ Spiller, Junior Gallette, Brandon Browner all jettisoned from the roster, for the sake of the betterment of the product ON THE FIELD.
Coaches, GM’s, and organizations as a whole will make personnel mistakes. It’s inevitable, and a part of the imperfect science that we grown to love about the sport of Pro Football.
But there are some books that define the word ‘insanity’ as “repeating the same things over and over again, but expecting different results”.
Jun 10, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints safety Jarius Byrd (31) during minicamp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Vonn Bell was drafted for a reason, Roman Harper was brought back for a reason, Erik Harris was signed for a reason.
So PLAY them.
We have sadly seen what little that Jairus Byrd brings to the team’s hopes, and it’s high time to see if the younger guys (Bell and Harris) can mesh with Vaccaro.
There is no longer a need to let Byrd give yet another feeble “wave goodbye” to an opponent for a long gain or a big play for a TD, only then to see him sneak off into the night with an UNEARNED paycheck.
Jairus Byrd is stealing the Saints’ money — so let’s just go ahead and consider it a “mistaken donation”, and allow him to simply just “go away”…………..