Roman adds new dimension to D

Posted Aug 22, 2004

Saints' coach Jim Haslett must have thought he was seeing double.

Haslett told reporters after the game that it felt like Green Bay blitzed on every play, keeping the pressure on the Saints' quarterbacks in Green Bay's 19-14 win at Lambeau Field Saturday night. But New Orleans receivers felt the heat as well, giving the impression that the Packer safeties were in two places at once. The Packers' first unit pitched a shutout - a major part of the Packers' defensive improvement over last week was strong safety Mark Roman.

"He definitely plays with passion, he flies around to the ball, he has a good feel for the game," fellow safety Darren Sharper said of Roman.

That was exactly what the Packers were looking for when they signed Roman to a 3-year, $2.75 million contract in March. Roman spent his first four NFL seasons in Cincinnati. The addition showed enormous promise Saturday when Roman's presence allowed Sharper to stay close and make like miserable for the Saints.

Sharper illustrated that point by intercepting a Todd Bouman pass and taking it back 90 yards for a touchdown.

Saturday night was Roman's first chance to prove himself in game action. He has been battling Marques Anderson in training camp for the starting job. They have alternated working with the first team defense in practice, and Anderson got the nod in the preseason opener.

Sharper complimented the play of both strong safeties, but the difference with Roman, who had three tackles vs. the Saints, added to the mix was evident.

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