BOCA RATON, Fla. — Coach Sean Payton has spent plenty of time wondering why Brandon Browner didn’t work out in New Orleans.
The reason he came up with was that the Saints weren’t good enough as a defense as a hole, and it left Browner exposed on many occasions.
“I think there’s a handful of reasons,” Payton said. “We weren’t good enough overall as a defense; our front struggled,” Payton said. “I asked the same question; this guy just won a Super Bowl in New (England). So obviously the pass rush — it’s that perfect storm. The surrounding parts for us weren’t as strong as they needed to be.”
The Advocate charted Browner as giving up 56 receptions on 87 targets for 893 yards last season. However, Payton said that sometimes when it looked like Browner was being targeted it was actually a linebacker who was out of position.
“At times some of the under coverage there’d be a play that you might see on tape, and it would appear that it would be Brandon’s play, and it was really one of the inside linebackers’ play,” Payton said. “It’s gotten to a point where he’s at in his career. It was important as a coach you kind of have a vision how you want something to unfold, but you got to let that happen.”
Payton said Browner’s struggles last season was one of the reasons defense struggled and it undermined his ability to serve as a leader, which was on of the things New Orleans initially liked about him.
“For us to have had success one of those things last year defensively was for him to have played well and for us to have given him a chance to play well because he’s a leader that’s wanting to lead,” Payton said. “It’s hard to when you’re becoming a target. It’s hard to do that. I think there were a lot of hands in that specifically.”
Payton believes if the Saints strengthen up the front seven this offseason and figure out how to generate more of a pass rush it will help increase turnovers.
“No different than the quarterback that isn’t getting time,” Payton said. “For a defense, secondary, that clock in the head for the passer has to be a little quicker and all of the sudden you’ll be amazed at the balls that become available.”