By John DeShazier
The New Orleans Saints offensive line understands that 12 sacks allowed in 12 quarters, and two of three games with 77 or fewer rushing yards, cannot be woven into a positive.
While the Saints (2-1) are in a three-way tie for the NFC South Division lead with Atlanta and Tampa Bay, their opponent Sunday in the Caesars Superdome. New Orleans has been attempting to clean up inefficiency on the offensive line since the season began.
Saints quarterbacks have been sacked four times in each game; Tampa Bay has three sacks in its first three games. Quarterback Derek Carr was injured on the third sack, his final play of the game, when he landed on his right shoulder and sprained his AC joint. He left the game in the third quarter and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday, though he hasn’t yet been ruled out for Sunday.
“There’s a handful of things we need to clean up,” right tackle Ryan Ramczyk said. “Obviously, I think a sore thumb is our protection. We haven’t done a good enough job of keeping the quarterback clean, and that’s something that we’re putting a major emphasis on this week, getting a little bit more work at it.
“So I think if we can pay attention to the small details – get up to the line quick, know our assignments 100 percent – it’s just going to be about going out there and executing on game day.”
The Saints will attempt to do so Sunday against a division foe which, in past seasons, grudgingly has allowed success to opposing offenses. The Buccaneer defense has the table set when it stops the run; prior to last season, when it allowed 121.1 rushing yards per game (15th in the league), Tampa Bay allowed 73.8 (first), 82.7 (first) and 91.6 (third) rushing yards per game from 2019-21.