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New Orleans Saints 2016 season recap: Jairus Byrd

Byrd came on strong at end of season

A look at Saints safety Jairus Byrd throughout the 2016 season.

Jairus Byrd never really got into specifics about the knee injury he suffered in 2014. But, clearly, it helped keep him from performing at the elite level he showed in Buffalo, when he was a two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler in five seasons, who compiled 22 interceptions, 33 passes defensed, 11 forced fumbles and five rumble recoveries in 73 games.

But as he returned to health, so, too, did his production increase.

After playing 17 games and posting a total of 75 tackles, five passes defensed, an interception and a forced fumble in his first two seasons as a New Orleans Saint, he played in all 16 games for the first time since 2012, and had two interceptions, 82 tackles and three passes defensed in '16.

Byrd, in fact, was the only member of the secondary to play in every game (he started 15), and his effectiveness became more evident as the season progressed.

BEST GAME: Saints players and fans finally got a taste of what Byrd can do when the ball is in his area against Tampa Bay, when he intercepted two passes (and had six tackles) in a 31-24 victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 24.

BEST QUOTE: "His grade this last month-and-a-half has been fantastic, and that's positive. (Defensive coordinator) Dennis (Allen), I think, has done a good job of utilizing – not just a two-safety look, it might be a three-safety look, depending on what we're seeing offensively – but I think he's got a real good grasp as to what we're doing and you see him playing faster. He's been tackling well." – **Coach Sean Payton

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