Saints' Sedrick Ellis Hitting Stride
Baker knows what Ellis can do if the big tackle is not bothered by sore knees. He is seeing it now.
"When he's healthy," Baker said, "he's really good. He's finally healthy."
Ellis, who is 6-1, 307 pounds, had perhaps his best game as a pro Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, with a sack, a pressure that led to another sack, and solid play against the run.
Considering the injuries in the Saints' secondary and linebacking corps, the club needed to get something out of some other defensive players. Ellis, who has been hampered by knee issues his first two seasons in the league, has provided that something.
New Orleans has been waiting for Ellis to emerge and play like an All-Pro. He has been good, but nothing like this.
Ellis played 13 games his rookie season and just 10 games in 2009 with a knee injury.
Now, the former All-American for the Trojans is starting to hit his stride and it is helping lift the Saints defense, which has been better against the run than the statistics indicate.
Atlanta picked up a lot of rushing yards in overtime after the Saints defense was gassed from being on the field. The Panthers got 118 yards rushing on Sunday, but 39 was on one play.
• If Ellis played the best overall game, Usama Young made the best play of the day for the Saints.
The free safety was pressed into duty at strong safety and was in run support on Carolina's final possession of the game. It was second-and-8 from the New Orleans' 36 and the Panthers were on the verge of being in field goal range.
Watch the replay. There is a handoff to DeAngelo Williams, an elusive All-Pro running back. He has one guy to beat on the backside, Young. The Saints are in a six-man front with two linebackers stacked.
Young almost commits too far inside, but when Williams bounces and tries to make a move on Young, the safety makes the tackle.
It was a loss of 4 yards and took Carolina out of field goal range of the reliable kicker John Kasay. It was poor decision by Williams, an even better play by Young.
Kasay never got a chance to make the Saints 2-2 with a winning field goal.