Nick Fairley New Orleans Saints

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Deke: No Fairley would be blow to Saints Defense

DT Nick Fairley is dealing with a serious heart condition

Deke Bellavia
June 07, 2017 - 7:02 pm

Looking back on the New Orleans Saints 2016 season there is not much to brag about especially when mentioning the Black and Gold Defense.  However when you do an individual assessment one bright spot would be the play of veteran Defensive Tackle Nick Fairley.

“I think he (Fairley) was on the verge of being a Pro-Bowl player.  Nick was our best interior Defensive Lineman and it wasn’t even close,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert.  A little over a year ago at this time New Orleans agreed to a one-year prove you’re worth type contract with the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

“He had a career year when you look at his overall play,” Deuce McAllister said.  “Nick had more sacks (6 ½) than he’s ever had before, he made the D-Line better and he helped raised the level of play of all those around him.”

Both of our resident pros are in full agreement that if DT Nick Fairley has to miss away from the Saints, the Black and Gold Defense will have to deal with a big blow.  The former first round pick (13th) with the Detroit Lions spent his first four seasons in the NFL in Motown and then played one season in St. Louis with the Rams.

Although Fairley was considered a solid defender in the NFL, many felt he had not lived up to his first round draft status.  In the spring of 2016 the New Orleans Saints signed Fairley to a one-year five million dollar contract.

The Saints did the smart thing with what many consider a one-year let’s see contract and allow things to play out.  Well things played out well as Fairley had his best season as a professional and he did so in Black and Gold. 

Nick had career highs in tackles with 43 total and most importantly a career high in sacks with six and a half.  Now not many would believe this but the Saints Interior Defense led by Nick Fairley was one of the best against the run.

Slow you’re roll before you call me a fool.  NFL Stats show that runs up the middle of a defense had little success against the Saints.  New Orleans ranked 1st in the NFL allowing only 2.2 yards per rushing attempt up the middle.  For those who want to know what the NFL considers the middle would be the area between the Center and Two Offensive Guards. 

“That is a meaningful stat that goes hand in hand with how well Nick Fairley played last season.  If he can’t play this season it will be a big blow to the Saints Defense,” said Bobby Hebert.  Bobby and Deuce know how vital the play of Fairley is to the Saints Defense. 

Fairley was also one of the Saints most active and successful pass rushers.  Fairley was second only to Cam Jordan in sacks.  Jordan led the Black and Gold with 7.5 sacks while Fairley was second on the team with 6.5 sacks in 2016. 

Because he had a career year, the Saints rewarded the veteran Defensive Lineman with a new four-year contract.  Fairley signed a four-year $30 million dollar contract extension this off-season. 

Again all we know currently is what we don’t know.  And what we don’t know is the future of Nick Fairley in a Black and Gold Uniform.  But if Fairley is not a part of the Saints Defense it would be a blow that could be bigger than any of us can imagine. 

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