Saints’ defense aims to play fearsome football under Allen

WHITE SULPHER SPRINGS, W. Va. (AP) — The moment Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro saw a gap opening along the offensive line, he raced through it at full speed, slamming into the first offensive player who tried to block him.

The play, which occurred during a training camp practice over the weekend, exemplified Vaccaro’s description of what it’s like to play for defensive coordinator Dennis Allen, who is trying to shore up a unit that was among the NFL’s most porous last season. Vaccaro says it’s not about schemes this camp, it’s about how fast the defense plays.

The Saints ranked 31st in yards allowed last season with 413.4 per game, effectively cancelling out much of the production of New Orleans’ second-ranked offense.

The Saints are hoping for better results with Allen, who coached the secondary on the Saints’ 2009 championship team.

Through the first five practices of training camp at White Supher Springs — three of them in full pads — the defense has come up with its share of highlights, from safety Roman Harper stripping running back Mark Ingram to a couple of interceptions of star quarterback Drew Brees.

Payton said after Monday’s practice that it will take until the first couple of regular-season games to see whether the Saints’ defense is meeting goals of being better at communicating, thwarting third-down plays and tightening inside its own 20.