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Old 09-07-2007, 01:23 AM    (permalink
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Three quick points re: the Saints following tonight's season opener:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. I like teams playing big games this early. Teams are at their healthiest of course, 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.


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. I know they will bounce back in a big way against the Bucs in Week 2. I wondered going on how ready the Saints would be for the Colts' speed at home and with the crowd's energy, but they handled it fairly well for most of the game: they are now more than ready to take on the Bucs defense next Sunday among other future opponents.

The 2006 Saints weren't the 2006 Saints when they squeeked out a win at Cleveland in Week 1 last year.
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:37 AM    (permalink
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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.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:39 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Auron View Post
I agree but the Offensive lines performance was just dismal tonight. They were missing blocks, and not playing with the physical intensity you need to blow guys off the line.

we tried to establish the run in the first half but couldn't muster much consistent yardage. I agree Payton probably gave up on the run too early but the Offensive line just failed miserably tonight just like it did in Chicago. I hope this doesn't become a trend because for most of last year that line played solidly.
I might be a little biased seeing as I am a Deuce McAllister fantasy owner. He killed me last night.
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Old 09-07-2007, 03:49 PM    (permalink
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I might be a little biased seeing as I am a Deuce McAllister fantasy owner. He killed me last night.
Well you do know what they say about backs who split carries..

but seriously I think a lot of people are going to write off the Saints after last night; and I can't blame them after that performance they deserved it. However I think we'll play better as the season goes along. It was the first game of the season and there's 15 more left, I don't expect our Offense to play like that the whole year. One thing for certain is that we aren't anywhere near ready to compete with the Elite teams in the AFC yet.
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Old 09-07-2007, 04:35 PM    (permalink
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Awful. Simply... awful.
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Old 09-07-2007, 06:39 PM    (permalink
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Here's something I wrote in the NFL Official Game Day Thread Week 1 thread that I thought I would share with everyone here.

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Originally Posted by bigbluedefense View Post
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.
In response to your first paragraph, that's what I was saying all offseason. The Saints needed to go defense, defense, defense especially in the draft. After watching this game, it has me more upset that we didn't draft Paul Posluszny or Chris Houston. I applaud the Saints for trying to bring in some free agents who they felt could help the team. We went after and signed S Kevin Kaesviharn, CB Jason David, LB Brian Simmons, and DT Kendrick Clancy which is all fine and dandy, however, only two of them started the game last night. I understand why Kaesviharn didn't start, Bullocks and Harper are the Saints starting safeties, but why Brian Simmons didn't start over Mark Simoneau is just confusing. I know Simmons skill set is more suited towards OLB but he is an upgrade over Simoneau at the Mike and should have been inserted as the starter, plain and simple. Why did we go after him in the offseason if we were going to keep Simoneau in as the starting MLB?
The Saints should also have had Kendrick Clancy and Hollis Thomas as their starting DT's. Thomas should start at the nose with Clancy playing the gap. I know both of them have kind of similar skill sets with both having the ability to stop the run, but Clancy is more athletic and quicker than Thomas so he can do what the injured Brian Young did last year which is shoot the gap as well as play the run.

One thing that the Colts did that caught my eye is direct most of the runs to the outside. I thought it was odd that they were rushing in the direction of what is supposed to be the two studs of the Saints defense, Will Smith and Charles Grant, but it worked out and here's why. The Colts took advantage of Smith and Grant's aggressiveness. With those two DE's rushing the passer as they did last night, the quick Joseph Addai merely ran around them. Tony Ugoh did an admirable job against Will Smith although there were a few penalties that were not called against him. Ryan Diem also did his usual good job against Charles Grant.

The biggest problem, however, is the Saints secondary and despite their offseason acquisitions it still remains questionable. I did not think the Saints did enough in the offseason to adequately upgrade their secondary and this game proved it. Mike McKenzie is another year older and just is not the type of shutdown cornerback that we thought he would be when we brought him to New Orleans back in 2004. Jason David, while a definite upgrade over Fred Thomas, is not the type of corner that the Saints need in their man-to-man scheme. If Defensive Coordinator Gary Gibbs would have shifted to a more zone oriented scheme then Jason David would have been a better fit, however, I'm not sure where Roman Harper or Mike McKenzie would have fit in. Suffice to say, the Saints still need corner help which is something I've been preaching for a while. Still another reason why I am not happy with us drafting Robert Meachem with our first round pick this year.

While against a lesser quarterback than Peyton Manning the Saints corners will more than likely play better, Peyton just set the blue print for how to beat them which brings me to the second point. I feel you have hit the nail right on the head when you say that teams are going to max protect and start airing it out against the Saints. If they do that then there is no way our defensive personnel can stop them. We just do not have the guys to be able to stop it. Another point too is that the Saints offensive line HAS to do a better job of blocking. They looked piss poor last night but I do blame some of that on the play calling. They tried running too much misdirection, draw, and gimmick plays that take up too much time, which the Saints offensive line is not built for. They need to keep with the three step drop that they did last year and let Brees quickly get rid of the ball. They can't call plays that require the five to seven step drop because he will get pressured/sacked most of the time which is what happened last night against the Colts.
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Old 09-08-2007, 02:09 PM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by diabsoule View Post
The biggest problem, however, is the Saints secondary and despite their offseason acquisitions it still remains questionable. I did not think the Saints did enough in the offseason to adequately upgrade their secondary and this game proved it. Mike McKenzie is another year older and just is not the type of shutdown cornerback that we thought he would be when we brought him to New Orleans back in 2004. Jason David, while a definite upgrade over Fred Thomas, is not the type of corner that the Saints need in their man-to-man scheme. If Defensive Coordinator Gary Gibbs would have shifted to a more zone oriented scheme then Jason David would have been a better fit, however, I'm not sure where Roman Harper or Mike McKenzie would have fit in. Suffice to say, the Saints still need corner help which is something I've been preaching for a while. Still another reason why I am not happy with us drafting Robert Meachem with our first round pick this year.
I hate to admit but the thing that upsets me the most is in essence we pretty much are the same team that lost in the NFC Championship game, except with some minor upgrades and depth at select positions. I kind of overrated some of our off-season acquisitions. Now that isn't a terrible thing, seeing as that team made it to the NFC Title game, but for a team looking to take the next step and become a Super Bowl contender we may not have done enough.

Mostly on the Defensive side of the ball, it just seems that we lack overall talent level on that side of the ball. I thought our Defense held their own in the 1st half before the the roof caved in and that our Offense really hung them out to dry but at the end of the day we still don’t have enough difference makers on that side of the ball. Firstly we have a big weakness at Linebacker. Mark Simoneau and Scott Shanle are liabilities against the run.. They overrun plays, struggle to get off blocks and make tackles, and don’t naturally attack running lanes. I think if Simmons were a clear upgrade he would be starting right now but coming off a knee injury he may have lost a step, and might not be effective it might not matter however if we keep giving up 164 yards rushing on 5.7 yards per carry he might just start anyway... We still are weak up the middle and don’t have a disruptive presence at DT. I’m willing to give Jason David a shot, that was a bad performance but being on island covering Wayne, and Harrison with Peyton Manning throwing them the ball is murder for any CB.

We need better Gap control at Linebacker, an Instinctive MLB with sideline to sideline range, a disruptive DT who can collapse the pocket from the interior and prevent the QB from stepping up in the pocket to avoid the outside rush, a situational speed rusher with an explosive 1st step who we can use on 3rd downs just to get after the QB, and possibly another cover corner before I think this can be a significantly good Defense.

There’s still a chance that the Defense is improved over last years version. Manning and the Colts have made even good Defenses look bad before and maybe I'm overreacting too much into 1 game, but one thing is for certain our Offense must perform significantly better than what they showed on Thursday if we are to be successful.
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:49 AM    (permalink
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Auron, in response to your post that is why I thought we should have definitely gone after Paul Posluszny in the draft rather than Robert Meachem. I was not fond of any of the DT's that were available in the draft and was happy with the signing of Kendrick Clancy. I do wish that if we would have drafted Puz that we could have gone after another linebacker like Stephen Nicholas, Tim Shaw, or H.B. Blades. That would have given us one starter and possibly another one in a few years and would have upgrade our LB corps.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:14 PM    (permalink
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Ok it's time to move on and focus on next Sunday's game against the Buccaneers. Only Week 2 but as a Divisional opponent this is a very important game.

Week 2 - Saints @ Buccaneers
vs.
Sunday, September 16th. 1:00 PM (Eastern)

This next game will show us what this team is truly made of and will be a good test of their mental toughness. Can the team huddle up together, put the past behind them, come out and play a complete game with something to prove? Or will the after effects from that discouraging loss linger and lower our level of play? I believe we have the right type of leadership and coaching on this team to move forward and learn from past mistakes.

Some of my keys to winning this game
- I hope to see better preparation from a Game Planning standpoint from the Coaching staff in this game. We really didn't adjust very well at all to what the Colts were doing in the opener. The Colts Defense wasn't fooled much by our screens, draws, and misdirection runs and we didn't seem to have much of a back up plan.

- The Bucs also run a Base Cover-2 Defense so we'll see how well the players and coaching staff can adjust. IMO the best way to attack the Cover 2 Defense is to attack the middle of the field. Stretch the field vertically with the Slot WR, and or TE and hit the underneath routes. Once you get the Line Backers playing tight you can attack the seam downfield behind the LB level, and in front of the Safeties. Of course we must be able to run the ball well. To keep the pass rushers from teeing off, and to have manageable down and distance situations.

- Our WRs must release off the Line of scrimmage better. Too many times they were jammed at the line by the Colts corners, which disrupted their timing and ability to get into routes properly. Which really threw our passing game off. It goes without saying the Offensive line must play significantly better in Pass protection to give Brees a chance at actually setting up and stepping into his throws. The overall execution especially on 3rd down must improve.

- On Defense there really is no way we can give up the same kind of yardage on the Ground that we did. Better gap control, and tackling are the key. I suspect Tampa will try to attack our Corners downfield with Galloway so the Safeties need to be ready.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:32 PM    (permalink
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I like the Saints' chances this week, even if it's on the road.

Imo, after experiencing the speed of the Colts, they will be quite ready for the Bucs on both sides of the ball. There might be some concern for the heat, I suppose, but the team is deep at RB and WR. I think we'll see the offense do some good things, maybe better utilizing Reggie and Duece (or giving them more touches to make things happen, at least), and Brees looking more like the Top 5 QB he is.

The Bucs don't really have a deep threat other than Joey Galloway, and he's a wise veteran who will likely get his ~5 catches and ~90 yards by the time the game is over. I doubt the Saints defensive line goes sackless this week, and having Caddy and Brian Kelly dinged up certainly doesn't help the Bucs.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:53 PM    (permalink
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I'm not worried about the heat factor the Saints held 2 a days at their training camp in Jackson, Mississippi where the Heat index often topped 95+ degrees.

I think a big factor in last week's loss that was sort of overlooked. Was maybe we just weren't prepared for the hostile enviroment in the RCA Dome. The tempo the ceremony set up really got the crowd emotionally fired up. Add to that we had to go with a Silent Count, which the Colts D-linemen could easily get a read on and jump. Put us at another disadvantage.

I need to keep tracking the status of Brian Kelly, and Cadillac but them being questionable to play would be a blow. I'm actually worried about Michael Pittman he's a big, bruising, downhill style runner. Exactly the type of back that can grind out our Defense. (Ladell Betts last season)
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Old 09-13-2007, 04:42 AM    (permalink
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This game should definitely show us where the Saints are at. I'm hoping we see an extremely impressive performance out of them this week.
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Old 09-15-2007, 03:40 AM    (permalink
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I'm hoping for a very impressive blowout, but I'll just take the win at this point.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:14 PM    (permalink
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I'm not able to get the game.. but what is going on? I'm trying to follow on NFL.com we're down 14-0, and just committed 2 Offensive holding penalties on 1 drive.
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Old 09-16-2007, 04:06 PM    (permalink
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I'm almost speechless, there's not really much I can say but this team needs an identity check they look nothing like last year. Where is the creative playcalling that keeps Defenses off guard? Where is the passion and intensity?

Judging by the NFC and particularly the way the South is shaping 0-2 is not impossible to bounce back from; But it will be.. if we continue to play like this for the rest of the season.
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Old 09-16-2007, 04:08 PM    (permalink
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6-10 here we come.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:21 PM    (permalink
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The good news is that if we continue to play like this we'll end up with a high draft pick so we can get an awesome linebacker or cornerback.
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Old 09-16-2007, 08:34 PM    (permalink
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It'd be pretty cool to get Dorsey out of the deal. I haven't given up hope yet but its fading fast. This team just can't stop anyone.
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Old 09-17-2007, 05:17 AM    (permalink
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I'd like to have Dorsey or Dan Conner. Three things are apparent: we need an impact DT, an impact LB, and an impact CB.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:45 AM    (permalink
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Dan Connor would be awesome too. Or maybe Talib from Kansas.
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Old 09-19-2007, 11:19 PM    (permalink
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Well I forced myself to go back and re-watch the Tampa game here's some of my observations.

- On the very first Offensive series of the game Devery Henderson dropped 2 catchable passes, and then again in the 2nd quarter he couldn't make a good enough play on an Endzone fade. They weren't gimme receptions by any means but they were catches that NFL caliber Receivers make often, or at least make a better play on then he did. I really think the Coach's patience with Devery is getting very thin, and that he may be benched as soon as this week. If he wasn't already.. (Patten, Moore played instead of him in the 2nd half) His hands are becoming too much of a liability on Offense and the drops are really killing any momentum we might establish on Drives.

- 3rd down execution is just killing us.. Second drive of the game Deuce actually picks up the 1st on a run up the middle but Fumbles the football...which really killed our momentum. Jeff Faine really didn't do a good job of blocking their MLB, Ruud he got a good initial drive but failed to finish the block - and Ruud was just able to shed the block too easily and strip Deuce of the football. This error really killed our Offensive rhythm, and might've been the early turning point of the game as the Bucs scored a Touchdown on the ensuing possession.

- I still don't think the Defense is as absolutely atrocious as the score is making it look. Make no mistake it's definitely a unit lacking talent overall but on the Bucs first 5 possesions, we managed to make them go 3 and out Three times, and 1 of their Touchdown drives they started with a short field because of a fumble from our Offense. During that same span we Punted 3 times, lost a fumble, and then missed a field goal. Simply put.. our Defense is on the field way too long. It's obvious the Offense is leaving them out to dry and isn't holding up their share. If our Offense would play up to it's potential and go on those 6-8 minute scoring drives like it's designed to do our Defense wouldn't have as much burden on it and could actually play fresh, and with a lead...something they haven't had all season so far.

- Ball security with our backs is a huge issue. Payton needs to get Reggie, and Deuce to run overtime in Fumble Prevention drills. We had 4 fumbles between the both of them in just the first half, and to imagine only 1 was lost. There's simply no excuse for that.

- Reggie's Personal Foul early in the 3rd quarter was absolutely inexcusable. At that point in the game we were only down 21-0 and were just starting to gain some Offensive rhythm. I know June kneed him as he was down, but you have to keep your composure in that situation and just get back to the huddle.

- I know it sounds kind of cliche but Tampa just wanted this game more than us. They were so fired up, playing with so much passion, bringing the huge hits on every play. We just couldn't match their intensity level.

- The Offensive line played miserably, I don't know how or why they've regressed so much from last year but even back up players like Greg White, and Jovan Haye man handled Jammal Brown, Jamar Nesbit, and Jahri Evans at times; getting to the QB before he even finished dropping back. It's miscommunication, blown blocking assignments, and them just getting overpowered at the snap.

- Brees just isn't on the same page with his Wide Receivers, right at the 2:00 minute warning at the end of the 1st half Brees threw the Fade stop along the right sidelines to Patten. The exact same play that was executed beautifully vs. KC in the Pre-Season... but this time Patten kept going and ran the Fade deeper, thus the throw went no where but out of bounds. Drew's just not seeing the field. He needs to be more patient, but honestly he can't because the protection won't allow for him to be patient so he feels he has to hurry to get the ball out. On the Interception, it was just a simple zone June jammed the slot WR at the line, and then dropped right back into the Hook Zone in front of Patten. Brees just needed to look off the Linebacker and clear the zone a little better, and he could've had Colston deeper down the seam.

- Drew Brees ran a QB sneak...down by the goal-line...and I almost died.. thankfully he came back out of the pile in one piece.

Maybe I'm crazy but somewhere deep down there's a good football team they just have to find themselves again. If they can't get it going at Home, on Monday Night and at least play a competitive game after 3 weeks I don't know if they ever will.
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:44 AM    (permalink
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Like I said after the Indy game, the main problem we're having with our team right now is the offensive line. I don't know WHAT it is, but it's just been bad.

Tomorrow is a HUGE game... I hate the term "must-win", but we really really need to seize this one. VY is going to be a big factor, but hopefully with the home crowd we can start righting the ship.
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“We know that no matter the adversity, be it the lockout, be it the suspension or be it a hurricane, our men will pull together and defend the honor of this city. We’ve shown we’ve been able to do that.” - Jabari Greer
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Old 09-24-2007, 04:37 PM    (permalink
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only four hours to KO. predictions everyone??

i think the saints O finally gets going and my prediction will be 44-28, saints winning. (highly unlikely its that high, but whatev.)
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:34 PM    (permalink
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Week 3 - Titans @ Saints
vs.
Monday, September 24th. 8:30 PM (Eastern)

- I'll just go ahead and say it.. this is a must win game for the Saints, well at least in my mind it is. We have to get the ball rolling somehow and just get that first Win, and then everything else will fall into place. If we come out flat and play a terrible all-around game for the Third Week in row there will be some serious problems going into the Bye Week. I just want to see some fire, and intensity maybe being on Home turf for the first time this season can give the players a boost and they can rally behind the Dome crowd.

- I'd really like Payton to go back to some of the original plays we were so successful at last season. The Bush reverse, and Ghost motion plays. Things that kept Defenses off balance, and honest on the backside of the running plays and opened some lanes for Deuce last year. Utilize the 3 step drop package more often in the play calling.

- I hope we can get Drew Brees in a rhythm early, set up some quick, high percentage passes early to get him on a roll, and that can open up some deeper plays for us later in the game.

- I'm a little concerned about the match-up problems our Defense faces against Tennessee's running game in which Vince Young gives them a very unique aspect. We have to contain the running gaps a lot better, and take away VY's running lanes. Will Smith, and Charles Grant can't get to aggressive rushing the passer and might have to play more of a contain role because VY is very good at eluding Defenders who overpursue and scrambling out of the pocket.

The Saints really seem to play their best when I doubt them the most. I hope we at least play a good game and give a solid effort at Home.
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:36 PM    (permalink
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Yeah, we really need to win this one. Watch for Roman Harper to be the spy on VY just like he was against Vick last year in the home opener.

I don't care if we win by 30 or 1, I just want to win. :(
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“We know that no matter the adversity, be it the lockout, be it the suspension or be it a hurricane, our men will pull together and defend the honor of this city. We’ve shown we’ve been able to do that.” - Jabari Greer
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