METAIRIE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Saints’ defense continues to scratch its head to find a solution for their stretch of slow starts. New Orleans has gone five consecutive games with terrible first-half play before locking down in the second half, playing like the team Who Dat Nation is used to seeing.

New Orleans has played with a double-digit first-half deficit in four of its past five games. In their last five games, the Saints have allowed teams to score an average of 18.4 points in the first half and six in the second half. 

Saints head coach Dennis Allen said it’s an area that will draw a lot of his focus during the bye week. For players, not knowing what has caused the slow starts is frustrating. 

“Not sure exactly what the answer to that would be,” Alontae Taylor, Saints cornerback, said. “I feel like we just got to come out and just execute a little bit better than what we have been doing. And I think consistency is the thing that we need to work on. But it’s frustrating because we know what we can do when we have a fast start.

“I think early on we had fast starts, but we weren’t having the best second halves and now we’re having a better second half and not good starts, but we have to be able to put a full game together, said Taylor. “I feel like guys need to look in the mirror and see what we can do to improve that and then come in on Monday and just attack that. I mean, we have nine games left and that’s enough games and enough football to be played that we can still do some special things with this group of guys.”

The Saints struggling pass rush, which is ranked 26th in the league with 18 sacks, got a boost to begin the bye week. The team signed pass-rusher Jason Pierre Paul to the practice squad, according to multiple reports and a social media post by Paul, despite the team not formally announcing the move as of Wednesday.

The 34-year-old most recently played 14 games with the Baltimore Ravens last season and has yet to play this season.