BRADENTON, Fla. -- Sean Payton and the Saints will have to contend with two Defensive Players of the Month this Sunday when New Orleans hosts the 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
During his conference call with local media, the Saints coach was very complimentary of the 49ers' defense and what they have been able to accomplish so far this season.
“Pick a number, red zone, third down, quarterback pressures,” Payton said. “All those components are why they are sitting where they are at with their record and they’ve done a fantastic job.”
Bosa, in particular, has made an impression on the Saints coach. The Ohio State product already has tallied eight sacks, 16 quarterback hits, one forced fumble and one interception.
“For someone who is young, you see an explosive athlete,” Payton said. “You see power. You see edge speed. You see someone, I think especially for a young player, who uses his hands extremely well. He’s played outstanding.”
The Saints are known for their passing attack, with the connection between quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Michael Thomas fueling their success in the passing game. The Saints wide receiver ranks top in the league in receiving yards with 1,290.
Payton is very familiar with the veteran cornerback who could throw a wrench into the Saints' aerial game plan. He believes Richard Sherman is back to playing at the level he was prior to his Achilles injury.
“I think so you get everything with this player, along with between the ears,” Payton said of Sherman. “His instincts, his understanding of formations, leverage. He knows the defense cold. And his man-technique looks outstanding. I think his film has been extremely impressive. That back end group has been playing real well.”
The 49ers defense has had their challenges with mobile quarterbacks in four out of their last five games facing Kyler Murray twice, Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson. The game plan facing the Saints will be decidedly different, but the film from each of those games has been useful in Payton's preparation.
“Certainly there are game tapes that are better studies for us than others,” Payton said. “Now, 12 games in, you’ve got a real good foundation of what you’re looking at but to their credit, they are very disciplined in their alignments.
“It’s not an exotic defense with all sorts of looks. And even when they play a team like Baltimore they still have structurally a starting point that they align in and then obviously there are some adjustments or things that they might want to do differently with an offense like that. That tape is important.”