Monday, August 25, 2008

A Rock in the Backfield

I have to say that I love the NFL network. I was able to catch the Saints/Bengals game on replay about an hour after the game was over and dissect it to pieces all before midnight.

After catching Anthony Munoz butcher the Bengals broadcast and mistake Aaron Stecker for Duece three times, I was so ready to hear Tim Brando call the game. Plus, I love the beloved Saintsation cutaways going to break.

So here's some quick observations from the game.


1. Saints once again moved the ball on offense, even though it was mostly through the air. I think they may be holding back on running the ball until the season starts or they are just working on their timing with receivers. I think that Brees had only one bad pass and that was the missed touchdown to David Patten. He was wide open, but that will be 6 points in two weeks.

2. The defensive line looked much more aggressive. They stuffed the run and got after Palmer. He was so bloodied up and bruised that he must have thought this was a playoff game. Granted the Saints defense looked stout against a Bengals offense that is inept and disastrously banged up, they still held them down for a mighty goose egg. How bad is to not even score a point in a preseason game?

3. Pierre Thomas. What's there not to like about this young man? His name in French means "A Rock", and that's what he will be for the Saints. He runs so low to ground and always falls forward when tackled. Most importantly he reminds me of a previous running back that ran, spun and made defenders miss named Dalton Hillard. Here's what I'm going to predict. This kid will see plenty of playing time this year. Duece has been running very tentatively, and Reggie is banged up already. He'll be in the mix with Stecker in week 1.

4. Tracy Porter is our new starting cornerback. Sorry Jason David and Jason Craft. This kid hasn't been on the field to long, but shows promise. He's got some skills and has the speed to play man-to-man. McKenzie will work with him to show him how to bump and run, it's only a matter of time before we'll see him performing up to task. I also thought Kendrick Clancy was a beast. He was all over the field making plays. He needs more rotations and will get them with Ellis and Thomas on the bench.

5. Robert Meachem is the speed burner we need on the outside. This guy is faster than Devry with a bigger frame, plus he can catch the ball. No offense Devry, but I've seen enough of you dropping passes to keep me praying that Drew overlooks your coverage everytime.

Negatives (There aren't too many this week)

1. Defense, because there's always need to improve in this area. We did a real good job mixing up our coverages to rattle Palmer, but once again the tight-end was killing us down the field. For the second week in a row the offense exposed the fact that our linebackers have a difficult time covering the tight-end.

2. Duece doesn't look like himself. I'm sorry, but he wasn't hitting the holes hard or cutting back to find that crease. He looked a bit timid. May be we're rushing him to quick. Let's let him pace himself. We've got some good running backs. No need to push it and have him out the entire season.

3. Offensive line run blocking. I'm sorry this week we looked extremely week upfront running the ball. The only time we got some positive yards were on delayed hand-offs and screens. We need to be able to pound the ball sometimes and chew up the clock. The Saints offense has to eat up as much clock as possible because we can ill-afford to have our defense on the field for 30 minutes each half. I like it when we score, but I like it even more when it's 7-9 minute drives that keeps the opposing offense off the field.

All in all it was a good showing for our beloved Black and Gold. I must say that I'm so ready for Tampa. I want to kick the crap out of them so badly after they torched us last year twice. Most of all, I want Jeff Garcia to feel what Carson Palmer felt all Saturday. The Dome Patrol in his face every time he snapped the ball.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Toast of the Town!!!

Well, if you watched anything from Saturday's night preseason game between the Texans and the Saints, there was one glaring thing that stood out among the rest. Jason David is done as a Saint. There's no if's or maybe's. No up by 30 down by 30 points. He's just not good enough to start at cornerback, much less sub in on nickel and dime packages. The guys self-esteem has to be beyond low, like Alicia Sacramone-falling-off-the-balance-beam low.

What's worse is that every Saints fan has heard the excuses. "Poor 3rd down defense. Um, wrong coverage at the time. Um, I just slipped on the play."
I have to say that there has to be a cornerback on our team or somebody delivering Budweiser somewhere in the city that can cover better than Jason David. I thought I would never say this, but Fred Thomas was better. Toi Cook(ed) was better. Even Alex Molden.

I even made the point to my brother, that the Saints are better off rushing two lineman and putting an extra two or three defensive backs on Jason's side of the field. The guy has had little if any positive moments as a Saint, and has done nothing to shore up our secondary. It's time to say goodbye.

The lone bright spot from the night came from the offensive side of the ball. It looks as if Marques Colston is in mid-season form. That touchdown catch he made was ridiculous. And Reggie and Duece look like they could be back to 2006 season form. I liked the way we moved the ball in hurry-up, but we still had trouble establishing long, time eschewing drives. Like the ones that killed the Eagles in the playoffs. It has become more obvious to me that the Saints are becoming a team that relies to heavily upon their offense to win every game. Can't happen. That's what happened in 2007. We need a good defense if we want to be a real contender. I want the Saints to win more than anything else, but if they don't fix their secondary problems we could be in for another long season of nail biting games that hinge on whether our offense can score 30 or more.

Here's your stat of the day. -7 turnover margin for Saints in 2007. New England Patriots were +16 in turnover margin in 2007.