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Even at 0-4, Saints' Kromer sees progress

Associated Press Modified: October 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm •  Published: October 1, 2012
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New Orleans next plays at home Sunday night against San Diego, which opened 0-4 in 1992 but still made the playoffs.

At this point, Kromer doesn't want to go so far as to highlight what the Chargers pulled off two decades ago as an example of why it's still OK for the Saints to believe they can make the playoffs for a fourth straight season.

He said the focus has to be narrowed to simply doing whatever it takes to beat the 2012 Chargers, who have started 3-1.

If New Orleans' defense doesn't improve soon, beating San Diego and quarterback Philip Rivers will be a tall order.

Statistically, the Saints' defense improved at Green Bay. The unit produced two turnovers on Malcolm Jenkins' fumble recovery and Patrick Robinson's interception.

The Packers finished with 421 total yards, which actually lowered New Orleans' league-worst average of yards allowed per game to 463.3.

However, the Saints had virtually no pass rush on Aaron Rodgers, allowing him to sustain long drives and convert possessions deep in Saints territory into touchdowns instead of being forced to settle for field goals.

"We have to find a way to affect the quarterback more," first-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said, lamenting that the few times the Saints did get Rodgers to scramble, he was athletic enough to escape and still make a play.

"We had him in the red zone and (defensive tackle) Brodrick (Bunkley) gets his leg, but he maintains his balance going to his left and flicks it out there," Spagnuolo said. "That's a great play by a great quarterback. All those things put together limited what we did affecting the quarterback.

"The disappointment that I have is if we could have found a way to eliminate one score, or force one field goal in the red zone, that's how much of a fine line it is right now," Spagnuolo said.

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