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The media will talk about something, even if it doesn't make sense. Especially when there's no actual football to be played to satiate the demand of its consumers. More often than not, it's about filling time and/or just arguing for the sake of.
Pugnacity, testosterone, truculence, and belligerence.
I said that I would write my write-up later and here it is.
1. The game today was won by the Colts and lost by the Saints on the line of scrimmage.
Last season, the Saints used a lot of 3 step drops to get the ball of Brees' hands quickly and into the receivers hands so they could either pick up yards with their hands or get some with their feet. This game we saw Brees do a lot of 5 to 7 step drops and the Saints offensive line showed their worth. Namely, that there isn't a lot of worth to be put in it. Jammal Brown and Jon Stinchcomb were owned by Dwight Freeney for the most part. Neither could contain him and it was fairly evident. Because of the pressure put on Brees he was having to throw off of his back foot most of the night and made horrible reads and throws that resulting in 2 picks and tons of drops. He was lucky that he only had 2 picks.
On the defensive side of the ball the Saints were owned as well. I don't know where Sean Payton's head was, more than likely lodged between the two cheeks located in his nether regions, but starting Antwan Lake opposite Kendrick Clancy is just a bad idea plain and simple. Sure, they played well together in pre-season but this is the regular season where teams will be giving their 110% on every play. Hollis Thomas should have been in the game, whether opposite Clancy, Lake, or *insert player name* the line of scrimmage would have been that contested that much more and more than likely would have resulted in less rushing yards than the Colts gained. Hollis Thomas helped clog the run last year and I don't see why he wouldn't be able to do the same this year.
2. The blueprint has been laid.
The Saints secondary is still suspect to the pass, whether a long bomb or a short zip pass. While I expect Jason David to become better as a man-to-man cornerback, it is obvious that he is not a shutdown corner and is not as big of an upgrade over Fred Thomas as most Saints fans expected him to be. The Saints should have plaid more zone coverages to play to David's weakness in man coverage. Also, it has to say something about David's intelligence when he was constantly staring down Peyton Manning instead of paying attention to the receiver. He played against Manning in practice for three years, you would expect someone who has that much experience facing a quarterback would have fared better but he was burnt more than is expected. I think he will get better but teams will now line up their speedy receivers against either him or Mike McKenzie, who was also burned.
3. The Saints play-calling was too complex.
Play-action. Draw. Misdirection. There's the Saints play book. Take out all of the gadget plays, draws, and play-action passes and the Saints play book would be threadbare, I expect. For as suspect as the Colts run defense was touted to be, I would have expected the Saints to have played a ball-control type offense. Run the ball down their throats. Use Deuce and Reggie to help establish the line of scrimmage and wear down the defense. That was not done at all. I guess mostly because of point #1 but also because the offense seemed too reliant on the pass. Drew Brees looked terrible. Absolutely awful. This was not the Drew Brees that we saw last year and I expect this is not the Drew Brees we expect to see this year.
4. The Colts know how to draft.
For all of their losses in free agency, the Colts seemed to do fine. Tony Ugoh looked good at LT. Antoine Bethea, Marlin Jackson, Freddy Keiaho, Kelvin Hayden and all the rest of the unexperienced bunch more than held their own against what was expected to be an explosive Saints offense. I do not know if this is a sign of things to come but it seems like Bill Polian and Tony Dungy both know how to evaluate talent and draft player who fit their scheme perfectly.
There is not much good to take away from this game as a Saints fan. We should have played better. That's it. We played like crap. I expect us to play better against Tampa Bay. But one thing is evident, the Colts have had our number for years and they continue to have it. Also, as Geo pointed out, the Saints should get better as was shown during pre-season. I hope anyway.
I'm sure this write-up could have been more detailed and explicit if I would not have had Mr. Miller Lite helping me out.
Five quick points about tonight's Colts vs. Saints game:
5. I couldn't tell you how big the lump in my throat was when Addai was down on the ground after the first play (which we later learned was from reportedly getting the wind knocked out of him). Not as big as the lumps in Bill Polian's, Tony Dungy's, and Peyton Manning's throats, I'll tell you that. And Addai came back to have a great day today, starting the year with 100+ yards and a TD. He especially looked more comfortable with the stretch play.
4. Jason David will get better, Saints fans. He's not an elite corner obviously, but the guy was playing in the same scheme, day in and day out, for three straight years coming out of college as a 4th round pick from Washington State. He had his doubters then, as he does now, but he'll become a productive starter. Give him time, he certainly is an upgrade from Fred Thomas. Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne played against him in practice for three years, they kind of knew what to expect (we'll see how Nick Harper fares next Sunday, I guess). In his post-game conference, David didn't shy away from the blame and looked forward to getting better, and he will.
3. The Saints are a much better team than we saw tonight, especially the offense. Fans and media are as fickle as ever nowadays, so expect the "omg the Saints are a fraud one-year wonder" blablabla from idiots like Salisbury, but whatever. It's a 16-game season, for crying out loud. The Colts are an experienced team, with young talent in place of experience in some spots, which played very well at home and got the better of the Saints today. Heck, we saw the Saints start the preseason off miserably and, using their mistakes to learn from, play much better thereafter. The experience the Colts have together - Manning, Harrison, Wayne, and Clark most notably, I suppose - is what helps them play well enough to win in season openers despite the tough match-ups, whereas some teams like the Saints can have defenses working in new players or new schemes.
2. Don't crown the Colts just yet, Dennis Green. They did look good tonight, yes. But so did Buffalo four years ago when they spanked the 2003 Patriots 31-0 at home. The last game of the season? The Patriots won 31-0 and went on to win the Super Bowl. But the Colts defense showed promise as hoped, with the very talented youngsters getting their chance to play and some veterans more comfortable in their roles. They did some good things in the preseason and successfully carried that positive vibe into the regular season which was very good (the home crowd definitely helped, of course). Hopefully they can carry this energy, confidence, and execution especially into their Week 2 matchup at Tennessee, where they lost last year.
1. I like teams playing big games this early. Teams are usually at their healthiest, especially if your HC is Tom Coughlin (eek), but I'm a firm believer that being challenged can help a team get better. It's good that the Saints took this thumping this early, it gets a tough game on the schedule out of the way while giving them specific areas to improve and a barometer in mind. And, at least in the Colts' case, playing big games early helps prepare the team and the young players (rookies most especially) for the regular season and big games in general help prepare for the postseason. Guys like Addai and Ugoh played in the SEC, which is obviously a boon, but they both started off the season in playoff-like atmosphere and competition - and that's a big benefit.
Er, maybe that wasn't so quick. I'm glad both teams stayed healthy, btw. I have Brees on one fantasy team and Bush on another, but I can't say I'm too sad right now. ;)
Very level-headed analysis. The only one I don't agree with is Jason David. I never liked that acquisition. I think all corners that play in that system are protected. Once they leave, however, offenses go at them and see how they will handle it. When he had to cover Wayne and Harrison 1-on-1, deep down the field, he got roasted.
Some very insightful posts. I'd like to add that I think a lot of us, including myself greatly underestimated this Colts Defense. Much was made of their off-season player losses, but tonight I realized they off-set those losses brilliantly. Freddy Keiaho is very instinctive, and athletic, even though physically he may be undersized he's not afraid to come up against the run and take on a block. The Corners they've replaced are actually better fits for their scheme Marlin Jackson, and Kelvin Hayden have the perfect skills sets for a Cover 2 Corner. They're physical, and aggressive and get good jams on the WRs at the line. They just have so much speed on Defense, they force you to take the underneath stuff and then immediately swarm to the ball and give you little to nothing after the catch. Also what surprises me was how much better they were fundamentally, everyone tackles with great form (which they really fixed from last season) and that's a credit to the coaching. I think a lot of people grossly underrated the Colts Defense, it's a much better unit overall than I expected.
Also Ugoh impressed me, overall he looked a lot better than I thought he would. Especially with his lateral quickness in getting to the outside, and the second level. There were times he got beat and managed to get away with it due to Manning's superb pocket presence but overall I thought he did about as well as you can ask for out of a Rookie Left Tackle starting his first regular season game.
In order to beat the Cover 2, you absolutelyhave to be able to run the ball when teams drop 7, and rush only 4. Both teams started off playing a very soft 2-Deep Zone and it worked very well, limiting both sides in the first half. The difference was Addai and that O-line were able to run us right out of our Soft Zone Shell. While we with Deuce and Bush could not. Then in the second half out of desperation we went out of that Defense and started to get more aggressive trying to force turnovers by blitzing, and taking risks, and when you do that against Manning you're done if you can't get to him.
One of my biggest concerns would be Drew Brees' performance tonight. This was definitely not the same Quarterback who led the league in passing last year. It looked like someone abducted him. He was just so mechanically poor, throwing off his backfoot, rushing his throws into coverage. Last season he never made those kind of errors. The pass protection was abysmal at times, and with no running game Indy's pass rushers were able to just tee off on him in the 2nd half. I think he'll rebound but that was disheartening to see your leader play like that.
i think the saints will bounce back just fine and become a better defensive team...while the colts probably have improved defensively,i believe it will not improve enough to make it past the conference championship
It was the first game of the season and obviously the Colts were much more prepared.We'll just have to watch if it becomes there routine ouch at that time then I suppose New Orleans Fans will be clamouring for blood...
cause he reads the D so well. On the TD pass to Wayne, to make it 17-10, he clearly saw something in the D, audibled and had Wayne in the end zone. They did a close up of him reading the field pre-snap right after he audibled, and it looked like he was smiling to himself saying "Eat this Jason David, TD right here"
also, for FF, I'd keep Duece, i think he's gonna get alot of short yardage TD's...
We ALL bleed scarlet
New York Giants Super Bowl 46 Champs
UNITED: I actually attend the college I root for
Originally posted by PalmerToCJ
BTW, if it's 3rd and 97... I'm throwing a screen pass to Brian Leonard and he will convert.
except for what, at the time, seemed to be a key third down when even holding smith he couldn't prevent him from dragging manning down and forcing the ball 10 feet off target.
not sure if it's been asked yet, but how the hell is jason david a starting nfl cornerback? he looked worse than deltha o'neal.
Yeah, he did hold the crap out of Smith that play. He'll get better with time. That was a big test for him last night, and he did a standup job. Peyton obviously helps with his release, but still, the man did what he had to do.
David is a square peg in a round hole. Ive never been a fan of taking a scheme player and trying to fit him in another scheme. It never works. Tampa 2 players are Tampa 2 players. You can't throw them in a different scheme. NO made a mistake doing that.
for sure. and for a rookie, even a couple of blunders would've been impressive. but at least from a non-indy fans point of view, i didn't find myself thinking "god, they made a huge mistake losing glenn" at any point.
i have no idea why it took peyton so long to catch up to it. wayne had to make one move and david blew the coverage, every single time. even when they dropped to a zone, he failed completely to cover his zone properly. blech.
Payton reminds me of Charlie Weis in a sense that he needs a very good DC. He doesn't know how to build, run, teach, or adjust a defense for his life. NO needs to dedicate this offseason to defense, because they definately have tons of holes. Patchwork and smoke and mirros can work for a year, but to have continuous consistent success in this league you have to have talent. And right now, theres a major lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball.
I think teams are gonna start max protecting and airing it out against the Saints. The offense is gonna have to score alot of points this year.
Oh, another thing. I don't know if theres a DE duo thats scarier on 3rd and long than Freeney and Mathis. They may not be the best run stuffers out there, but on 3rd and long, there isn't a pass rushing duo out there better than them. They are amazingly fast.
And I don't know if theres a better pass rusher on 3rd and long than Dwight Freeney. Merriman is the man, but i don't know if id want anyone over Freeney rushing the passer on 3rd and long.