Wednesday, September 12, 2012

0-1, What in the Bejeezus Happened?

I told myself that I wasn't going to write anything about this game until mid-week to let the sting dissipate but it's not going anywhere. Let's not shit ourselves. The Saints looked awful. In every aspect of the game. For the majority of the game. Awful. (By modern day New Orleans Saints standards, that is.)

I honestly couldn't believe what I was seeing. I disagreed with everything the Saints did in the first half. Offensively, they did nothing to set the tempo by running the ball, had dropsies galore, couldn't block, and did not look like the Saints offense we have come to know and love. I'm not getting down on the team and its prospects for the season but it didn't look like they were prepared for the moment. Christ almighty it was a HOME OPENER! We should have and could have beaten that Redskins team if we had bothered to show up. I'm not one who believes that Drew Brees' contract situation had anything to do with the performance we were served on Sunday night. I'm not buying Kromer's post-game interview where he said that the defense was prepared for what the Washington offense did. Even Washington had to be surprised by that offensive showing. Props to them. They got one over on us. Won't happen again. I honestly do believe that.

Let's talk about it for a second and see where we stand, yeah?

OFFNESE


"I'm rich, beeatch!!!"
Drew Brees.

Tipped passes, inaccurate throws, sub-50% completion percentage, 2 picks and something that looked like a lack of understanding as to what was coming at him or what was going wrong for a lot of the game. (With so much going wrong, I can't really blame him.) Honestly though, Drew puts up a couple stinkers every year and looks like this might have been one of them. One of those interceptions came on the last play Hail Mary, so there's that, but there were two other picks to be had and they were totally on him. I have faith that he will be better this week. He better, or we lose.

Running Backs.

Hard to even judge considering that we didn't utilize them. I'm not buying the excuse that we were down too much for too long to run the ball. We went into that game with no plan for utilizing the running game and that was apparent. Mark Ingram, in my opinion, is a  back who needs the rhythm of 15+ carries to really get in the groove. I like him in the '09 Mike Bell role of bruiser on short yardage situations and mop up duty. The difference between Ingram and the role Bell was used in is that Ingram can catch the ball. The only problem with that is that Sproles and Thomas are better receivers than he is. We've got to figure out a way to successfully manage our running back to maximize their potential and the impact they have in the game. You'd think that given the fact that Aaron Kromer has been in control of the running game for the past few years that this wouldn't be a problem. Right? Well, apparently it is. Only time will tell if we take advantage of what could be considered the best and deepest backfields in football.

God dammit, give these guys the ball, especially when the passing game isn't clicking.

Get well, Devery.
Wide Receivers. 

Joe Morgan showed us the exact same thing that he showed us throughout the preseason. He's fast and can't catch. Awesome. Good job, good effort. If he doesn't start catching the ball he's practice squad bound. Highlights from 2 pre-seasons ago isn't going to keep him on the active roster.

Marques Colston. The drops and the fumble were so out of character for him that I wonder what his deal was. Being hampered in practice leading up to the game probably gave him some jitters that wouldn't be there normally, but that's no excuse for a guy who's been as consistent as he has been for years. Good lord, that fumble was a killer. I'm not going to bash the guy who will go down in Saints' history as their best wide out ever, but I really hope he steps it up and shakes this game off because we need him as our go-to guy. NEED.

Devery Henderson. I hope he's okay and that's it. He didn't look good walking off the field after his only catch in the game. He's always been our best blocking wide out and has become pretty reliable over the years. Let's not forget that those Morgan drops would have been passes to Henderson that I would like to think would have yielded better results.

Lance Moore. After not making a circus catch in the first quarter and being more or less silent throughout the first half, he was very visible in the second half and was pretty much the lone bright spot in our receiving corps. Moore averaged 20 yards/catch in this game and that's typically not his stat line. He stepped up when his number was called, unlike a lot of this team.

Jimmy Graham. Throwing him in with the receivers because I don't even want to talk about Dave Thomas. Graham got his ass kicked every time he touched the ball, but kept doing his thing. He took some vicious hits that would have taken lesser men out of the game. He's bigger this year and it shows in his blocking. He has all the skills now that had he played a full college football career would have made him a first round pick and there just isn't a damn thing you can do to stop him sometimes.

Offensive Line.

They sucked.

We need to see more of this!
DEFENSE

They didn't know what hit them, and I don't think it was their fault. There seemed to be a lack of preparation for what was thrown at them and then a lack of urgency to figure it out after it was in their face.

The D-Line

Cam Jordan. He was undoubtedly the star on the line against the Redskins and I hope to see more games like that from him. He hustles. He makes plays. He is a presence that has to be accounted for. 11 tackles mostly at or around the line of scrimmage. Not too shabby. I look forward to his progression that we started to see at the end of last season.

Will Smith. Would have been better off with him suspended on Sunday. Trent Williams owned him all day long. No double team necessary. Disappointing showing from someone who is definitely on the downside of his career. Not once Sunday did I see the classic "Will Smith being grabbed from behind by the neck and the offense not getting called for holding" and that's disappointing. We saw it in the preseason, so we know it's still there. Was it the lack of practice? Was it the low to high of the suspension being overturned? I don't know what it was, but it needs to be figured out if he is going to play Sunday against Carolina.

Sed Ellis. Looked decent, and that's probably selling him a little short. All in all he did his job and wound up with more tackles on the stat sheet (7) than I thought he had in live action, so that's a good thing. He was disruptive up front and was stout against the run. I want to see the Pee-Wee Herman dance from him because that means he's really doing his job. He's our "get after the quarterback" DT and I didn't see much of that. Then again, I didn't see it from anybody. RGIII stayed as clean Snday as he's going to stay all year.

Brodrick Bunkley. He moved the line at times and at others was rather invisible. Such is the nature of being a run stuffing DT. He is a force to be reckoned with out there and is an upgrade to Franklin from last year's defense. Will Smith's inability to draw a double team on the outside allowed the double team to slide inside and may have effectively washed out some of Bunkley's effectiveness and opened the holes in the Skins' running game. The cutback runs weren't huge but were good enough for decent gains.

Would have liked to have seen more of Junior Galette whose speed could have helped contain RGIII's ability to scramble and run that option. Tom Johnson and Turk McBride? Meh. Also, how about we get a chance to see what Martez Wilson can actually do?

Linebackers.

I thought they looked good. As a group, for the most part, they DID THEIR JOB. Shining star in this group? This guy: Scott Shanle.

Scott Shanle. The Shanle was playing the game of his life, which included a tackle deep in the backfield, always being in position to make a play instead of piling on after being three steps late and then went and got hurt. Shanle's been a rather healthy guy for us, much to some fans' chagrin. Liked what I saw from him in his limited action and hope to see more soon.

Curtis Lofton. Looked the part running sideline to sideline and got off his blocks. He showed up to play. 9 tackles is solid. I still think he's better than Vilma in the middle, but that's not even up for discussion until after week seven, at which time it will be revisited.

David Hawthorne. Damn you, Hawthorne! Even the Shanle was shining! Our secondary was paper thin behind you and you looked like crap. Out of position, slow, and took bad angles. The only starting linebacker to not consistently DO YOUR JOB! Highly disappointed. Hope it has something to do with the injury, because I can't handle another game like that.

Will Herring. Took over when the Shanle went down and didn't screw anything up. Forced a fumble on special teams and finished the game with 5 tackles. Tip of the hat to you, sir, for coming in off the bench and not sucking.


DB's 

Douche bags. That's what it means this week. Who didn't screw something up at one point or another? Jabari Greer's absence was felt from start to finish. Every year there's a sports hernia on this team and the joke isn't funny anymore. Get well soon, Jabari. Please.

Patrick Robinson. Lots of folks think he was utter garbage, trash that should be tossed to the curb after week one. He gambled, dropped an interception that he had two hands on (come on though, you can't argue with gravity), and loafed off the field on the 12 men on the field penalty. Was he great or even good? No. The 12 men penalty is enough to keep me pissed off at him for the rest of the season, but if I were to give him a grade for his actual play, I'd have to give him a C-. Is that what you want to see from the guy playing as your #1 corner? Hell no. If you've got a better idea as to who should play in his spot, call Airline Drive. I'm sure they want your opinion.

Johnny Patrick. Another guy who was playing consistently until he came up gimpy. His play was encouraging until he got injured and gives me some hope for our secondary (if they are ever all healthy at the same time.) Patrick had a nice pass breakup in the end zone and wasn't toasted once.

Corey White. Keep hating on the guy. He's a rookie who was forced to play a lot more than he should have because of the injuries to Greer and Patrick. He played hard, had 5 tackles, and looks to not have any quit in him. He trailed too much in coverage for my taste giving too much separation to receivers rather than making them earn it, but that is correctable.

Jerome Murphy. Saw more of him than I would have liked but for the same reason we saw a lot of White. We need to get healthy in our secondary if this defense is going to do what it is designed to do. No two ways about it.

Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins. Harper got screwed on that PI call and everyone knows it, yet people still call for his head. (I still think Harper was picked illegally on that ridiculous 88 yard TD pass.) He was all over the field and did what he has always done: clean up in run support and be okay in coverage. Malcolm Jenkins didn't really wow me in one way or another and there were a few missed tackles because he wasn't in good position. Considering the overall depth of our secondary for this game, I have to say that Harper and Jenkins (our 2012 defensive captains) did the best they could with the hand they were dealt.

How's about a lil' of this as a head coach?
COACHING

Seriously, WTF? Pardon me, Mr. Aaron Kromer, do you think it was a smart decision to shot a bag of heroin before your first game as head coach? Are you doing your best Jim Caldwell impression? There is NO excuse for a lack of vocal leadership on the sideline, even if he is the interim-interim head coach. Those refs were garbage and not a word was said. If that's the job he's going to do, we'd be better off with me on the god damn sidelines because at least I get pissed off when we get screwed. Kromer had a combination of "Aww...shcucks," and "Deer in headlights/roadkill" look on his face throughout the entirety of the game. That shit ain't going to cut it. Do something god damnit!!! Anything!

Curtis Johnson. Do we miss him and the rapport he had with our receivers? I have no clue. I know the guy who took his place, Henry Ellard, was lined up to take his job the second CJ went to Tulane and has been with the receivers all summer long. If Colston has bricks for hands all year then I may be ready to scream for the guy's head, but until then, let's see how this whole thing plays out.

ALL IN ALL

Wake up call. Hopefully. If not, it's going to be a long year. Roman Harper suggests that we don't jump off a bridge just yet, so I'll keep giving them a shot (like I'd ever stop rooting for the Saints no matter what). If the offense would have been clicking for four quarters instead of one and a half quarters, the game would have been the ass kicking we were expecting.We've seen much much worse than we saw Sunday, even from this particular Saints era, and we're all still breathing. I expect a better showing against Carolina this weekend since the element of surprise is not there. If we are the more physical team this weekend we will win. If not, well...Tampa beat the Carolina Newtons by pushing them around.

Who dat, y'all!

P.S. Thoughts that came to me before hitting publish:

It's true that we're spoiled and don't really know how to process ugly games from Drew. He's been so damn good and so damn accurate for so damn long that whenever he has a bad game and things don't go our way that we, as irrational fans, are shocked into thinking the sky is falling. At least we know the sky and can see when it's about to fall. When I was growing up, what I thought was the sky falling was really just a big illusion of a football team that just didn't have it in them to be real winners. Drew Brees came in here and changed that. I heard a national radio host making fun of us this morning, saying things like, "Drew Brees saved New Orleans from Katrina," and following it up by reading one of the uber-intelligent comments from nola dot com about Drew getting paid and not having an incentive to even be good anymore. What he was saying was obvious sarcasm unless you're an irrational moron (like me when I first heard what he was saying) but the truth of the matter is that Drew Brees and Katrina will forever be linked. Everyone who knows anything about New Orleans and knows anything about Saints fans knows that we are loyal to a fault and that winning football games was a great distraction to the disaster that our lives had become. What I'm getting at by rehashing all of this that we all already know is this: Drew Brees is the best thing that has ever happened to the New Orleans Saints and we don't know how to deal with it and therefore feel guilty when we criticize the performance he sometimes gives. At least I do. Well, I've come to this realization after listening to the Wednesday press conference. Drew said, "I'm my own biggest critic," and that takes all the guilt from all of us in criticizing his bad performances. So, Drew, from Saints fans everywhere, you looked like shit yesterday and anyone with eyes could see it. We love you and will always be grateful for the level you've made us accustomed to, but please don't do that shit again. We know you want to win probbably more than we want you to, so take away some of the pressure that had obviously gotten between your ears Sunday and be done with it. Play football. Make us happy. We don't like it when you suck. Please cut it out. Thanks. Who Dat.

2 comments:

  1. Great read.
    Thanks.

    This team misses SP far more than I was prepared to admit they would.
    It's in the face of all the players, ESPECIALLY Drew.
    You can sense it even from the crowd.
    It's palpable.

    I'm worried....

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  2. Common Saints, you can do it. The NFL (Goodall) has selectivly dessimated our Saints. No team can be without a head coach. Why punish the league, the fans and all the players---fine him. It was personal conduct, not team conduct. Makes you wonder if it was to take the Saints out of the running for another Superbowl. What team can succeed without its head coach? If they could, then why do you need your head coach.

    ReplyDelete