You are currently browsing the daily archive for September 22, 2008.
The poor get poorer as the already injury depleted Saints lost Jeremy Shockey to a sports hernia and he will miss 3-6 weeks.
Shockey joins Marquis Colston as two of Drew Brees’ favorite targets already on the shelf.
In addition to my Weekly MMA posts, I’m also instituting a new weekly post called Monday Morning Quarterback, where we’ll focus on one specific team and the pros/cons from their most recent game.
Since a main focus of ours is the LSU Tigers, New Orleans Hornets, and New Orleans Saints, let’s start with the now 1-2 New Orleans Saints.
Yesterday, the Saints played their 3rd straight down to the wire game TO START THE SEASON. After a opening week win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints have dropped back to back games to Washington and Denver. Let’s look at the Denver game.
1) We have a Top 5 QB in Drew Brees. With leading receiver Marques Colston out for another 4 weeks or so, Drew Brees has been nothing short of amazing. He had over 400 yards passing and 1 touchdown yesterday in a losing effort. When Brees has time to throw, he’s a sniper, no questions about it, and behind the scenes, he’s definitely the glue that keeps this team together. As long as Brees is healthy and playing, the Saints are always in the game.
2) Great step up play from Zach Strief. Early in the 2nd quarter, starting left tackle Jammal Brown went out with a groin injury and the offensive line finished the game allowing only one sack. Zach Strief stepped in for Brown and didn’t miss a beat. Like I said before, the New Orleans Saints hangs in the balance of the line in most cases. If they open up holes for the RB’s and protect Brees, the Saints can play with anyone. And if they don’t… well let’s just hope Bush, Brees and Colston really like New Orleans as a place of living.
3) Robert Meachem has talent. From what I hear, Meachem struggles with blocking as well as learning the playbook, but from his pre-season play and the last two games, I think it’s safe to say he’s quite capable of playing on this level. If his progress continues, he’ll definitely be another target for gun-slinger Drew Brees.
4) Reggie…Reggie…Reggie… There was a ton of big talk before the season started from Reggie Bush. Talk of finally “getting it”. Talk of 4 digit yard totals. Talk of Pro Bowls. Well, while the season is still young with summer officially ending yesterday, and it’s probably too early to talk of Pro Bowls, but Bush is delivering. Thus far, through 3 weeks, this is a run down of his stats thus far.
- 3 straight games of 140+ all purpose yards.
- 3 straight games with a TD.
- 3 straight games with 60+ yards receiving as a RB
- He’s averaging 3.6 YPC, which if you multiply by 3, equals 1st down.
- 1 rushing TD, 2 receiving TD, 1 PR for a TD.
For now, the talk of Bush being a bust can subside and go back to being just nonsense. For now…
Now… for the problems…
1) DEFENSE. Let’s see. Since the season opener, they can’t get pressure on the QB. They can’t stop the run. They can’t defend the pass. Something has got to change, and if the Saints want to contend for the NFC championship, it’s got to change FAST. Where are all those crafty blitz packages from the Buccaneers game? Hell, let’s all be real. The secondary is sub-par on a GREAT day. But let’s break it down a bit more in-depth, because this is obviously the biggest problem for New Orleans.
- McKenzie coming back was a huge help, but that’s like saying you have one real tire and 3 spare tires instead of 4 spare tires.
- Jonathan Vilma is proving to be worth the money in the off-season, but one good middle linebacker isn’t going to help when the rest of your defense is struggling. With the cornerbacks they have, the Saints are going to have to risk putting their cornerbacks on an island in hopes that they can get some pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback
- Stopping the big play is still a problem. This week makes two straight weeks where the opposing team throws a TD pass for 30+ yards. This week it was a 35 yard pass to Brandon Marshall in the 2nd quarter. Last week, it was the game winning touchdown to Santana Moss. I don’t know what the Saints safeties are thinking, but last I checked, the primary role was to make sure no one got behind you. NO ONE. With the offense being so hit or miss lately, the Saints can’t afford to give up 25-30 points per week and hope to win.
2.) Where the Hell is Deuce McAllister? Last weeks playing of McAllister was strange enough, as in he only got in on a handful of plays, but this week was much stranger. In another game where 2nd and 1 and 3rd and 1 plays were pivotal, why wasn’t the big guy in there to push the pile? If he’s hurt, he should be in sweats, that way we at least understand why he’s not playing. But to be frank, Pierre Thomas has played horrible the last 2 games, and I would rather Deuce have gotten those goal line carriers yesterday, as well as the 3rd and 1 carry late in the 4th. But if he’s not going to play, he needs to be traded, cut, or released. I know he’s a fan favorite, and one of the most successful players in Saints history, but he’s making too much money to be doing NOTHING.
3) Playcalling. I like Sean Payton. I think he’s a good coach. But sometimes, the timing of certain plays just baffles me. Such as the goal line tries that lead to the eventual safety to end the 1st half. After not getting the touchdown with Thomas on 2nd and 1 and the fumbled sneak on 3rd and 1, DO SOMETHING ELSE. Give it to Bush, throw it to Shockey, run a bootleg, I don’t care. Again, on the 3rd and 1 in the 4th quarter, Thomas failed to convert. I know everyone in the world is going to tell you that if you can’t get that 3rd and 1, you’re going to lose, and I agree, the running game needs to be fixed, but if you have Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, and Jeremy Shockey, you need to figure something out. There’s no reason you shouldn’t convert using any one of those three.
4) Running and Gunning…Well, just Gunning for now. The Saints have got to fix the running game. They’ve yet to have a 100+ rushing game from any running back and have only one game with more than 100 yards rushing total as a team (week 1 v. Tampa Bay). Now, I am a Reggie Bush fan so I may be a bit impartial, but I think the numbers speak louder than my impartiality. Bush had 73 yards on 18 carries for a TD yesterday. Pierre Thomas had 15 yards on 6 carries. Bush may not be an “every down” back, but for now, he’s got to be the guy with the ball on 3rd and short. If you’re not going to give it to Deuce at all, Bush is the next best thing because he’s a play maker.
Looking ahead to this week coming, The Saints have the San Francisco 49ers in the Superdome. I’ve not been impressed by the 49ers thus far. Like a few other teams so far this season (Broncos, Cardinals, Falcons), I think it’s been a lot of smoke and mirrors. Remember the 07-08 Lions? Yeah, expect more of that this year. The Saints beat the 49ers 31-10 a year ago in San Francisco, so they should be able to handle them again this year.
Looking at the rest of the schedule, Saints fans do not fret. While the schedule appeared rough before the season started, most of the teams on the schedule are proving to be more bark than bite.
Until Wednesday, have a nice week.
LSU’s 26-21 win against Auburn has been in the books for more than 24 hours now, so LSU will begin to turn its attention today to its next opponent, Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs are 1-3 and have not really looked good so far this season. But I think they are more talented than the way they’ve played and are closer to the team who lost to Auburn by a point than they are the team who was dominated by Georgia Tech on Saturday.
But Miles has absolutely had the upper hand on the Bulldogs in his career, dominating State all three times he has faced them at LSU.
Much more on this game later in the week.
The big story of the day was that the Saints were dropped to 1-2 Sunday in a loss to the Broncos. The Saints were driving in for the kill late in the game, but Martin Gramatica’s last-ditch field goal attempt sailed wide and ended the game.
A few things:
1. The Saints defense is still terrible. Adding Vilma and signing washing up cornerbacks did nothing. The secondary is still a mess and until that is cleaned up, they will give up the usual 25-30 points per game.
2. Running game? – The Saints don’t have one. For the second week in a row a series of 2nd and 3rd and one scenarios cost the team the game. If Deuce is unable to play, then why is he dressing? And if he really isn’t better than Thomas or Bush running inside, then release him, because he costs too much.
3. Auto-matica? – Gramatica is terrible. If he were good, he wouldn’t have a new team every year.
The Saints have some correctable mistakes. But not having toughness to grind out a yard on the ground is a mental thing. You can’t teach heart and that will haunt the Saints all year I’m afraid and if it does, it will be another 7-9 or 8-8 year.
I have a ton of things to do with a busy week ahead of me, so I will give you my new SEC power rankings and end it at that today. I will be back to par beginning tomorrow.
1. Florida – They have rolled through and stomped everyone they’ve played so far.
2. LSU – Beating Auburn in their place makes them the big movers of the week.
3. Georgia – The Dogs keep winning. They just don’t look all that great doing so.
4. Alabama – They are a real close 3b.
5. Vanderbilt – It’s hard to ignore their 4-0 record and 2-0 record in the SEC.
6. Auburn – They lost. But to a ‘damn strong’ football team.
7. Tennessee – Many a team will lose to Florida this year.
8. Kentucky- Still unbeaten. Will they stay this high? No. But still unbeaten.
9. Ole Miss – They played well, but lost to the better team Saturday.
10. S. Carolina – Their offense is a mess. For their sake, they hope they can steal a win or two with defense.
11. Miss St. – If Ga Tech pounded them on the ground, what will LSU do to them?
12. Arkansas – There is no way to fix them. Not this year, anyway.