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What You See

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Posted 08-17-2013 at 08:45 AM by BoudinSandwich

If you've read my previous blogs, you'd know that I believe Sean Payton's teams show their true colors in the preseason. I believe what you see is what you get when it comes to Saints in exhibition. Remember those preseason games where the Saints struggled to get tough yardage up the middle? That carried into the regular season. Remember the Saints D getting destroyed week after week (especially against the Jags) last preseason? That carried over. So, when I was screaming about how terrible our D performed, I constantly heard, "It's just preseason!" I don't buy it.

It's not just preseason. It's not just the Raiders. It's not just the Chiefs. The Saints defense was meant to be a 3-4. It's a 'night and day' comparison. I no longer think there's any argument that this defense's base should be anything other than 3-4. People confuse that very first drive of the preseason against the Chiefs and think the defense played terribly all game. It was the first drive, of the first game, of the first preseason game, with tons of new talent, a new DC, and a brand new scheme. It's to be expected. And, after that drive, the D became stingy for the rest of the game. The first drive against the Raiders seemed slightly shaky, but the Saints managed to get a stop. After that, it looked like they settled in and started imposing their will on the offense. Look for that to be a continued trend this year. This D may take a short time to settle, but it will settle.

The young guys on this 3-man D line are simply beating the guys across from them. That's why it's not "just preseason". It's not scheme. It's not a matter of being vanilla. It's lining up across from those offensive linemen and blowing right through them. And, there was no Wilson, no Galette.

Will Smith, who got slammed by everyone last week (myself included), sort-of redeemed himself. I don't remember seeing him play too much coverage, but I did see him rushing the passer. That's his only ticket as an OLB. If he's only used as a pass rusher, I may be okay with him staying at OLB, but that can also tip our hand to the opposing offense. I still think he's better suited going back to DE.

Special Teams redeemed themselves as well. They went from awful to 'not that bad'. There was still nothing to be remotely encouraged about - aside from Morestead still kicking the ball outside of the galaxy.

And then, there was the offense. As in the first game, I was very impressed with the new talent at WR. The Saints have reloaded with offensive talent. Stills has great route running and big play potential. Toon is an all-around solid WR - Colston 2.0. The biggest difference this game was the offense was in sync. It was only a matter of time. However, there was a matter of concern. The Saints settled for too many field goals instead of touchdowns. I think this will improve slightly, but this is becoming a trend. And, like I've said, "what you see is what you get." Unfortunately, expect this problem to linger through the regular season. The good news is, with the way the defense is playing, we may not need as many touchdowns.

The bad, of course were the turnovers. I knew it was going to happen. You can go back to my previous blog entry and see me expecting for us to drop the ball all over the turf this game. It's simply a matter of the mystical karma that was set into place by the football gods.

People are going to talk about how the offense got "sloppy" and we let the Raiders back into the game. Let's be clear on a few things:

1) The D did not let the Raiders back into the game. The Raiders gained the ball in excellent field position.

2) Travaris Cadet fumbled (at the will of the football gods). While Cadet may see some regular season action, this shouldn't be any cause for concern because he's not a key part to the offense. The plays weren't sloppy, he just couldn't hold on to the rock.

3) Seneca Wallis is terrible. Don't blame the rest of the offense. If McCown would have been the QB, we would have continued to march down the field, stall out, and kick field goals. I don't care about how many years this guy has spent in the league or whatever running ability he used to have. There's no way Wallis makes this team. Case in point, Griffin comes in and suddenly the offense is back in sync.

The true test is going to be the Texans next week. We have to get through that game healthy. The O is going to have to work hard, because the Texans D is going to bring it. Our D will have their hands full. However, I expect to see the same trends. Will we have 7 sacks again? No, but we should have a couple. It's going to be tougher, but you'll see the D actually compete and not get run over. The run defense has looked great so far, but they'll give up a big run or two against the Texans. It's all about minimizing the damage and making them work for every yard.

I do believe these trends will continue, though. What you see is what you get. This defense is getting stops. The turnovers haven't been plentiful, but that's also why it's very encouraging. Consistently getting stops without having to rely on turnovers is the mark of a solid D. And, while I'm not ready to say the Saints will have a top defense, it's become pretty clear they're not going to be bottom of the league anymore. I'm thinking, at least, middle-of-the-pack. And, with this offense, that's all you need.

P.S. - We got a SAFETY!
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  1. Old Comment
    homerj07's Avatar
    All true & valid points. I am not as optimistic. I think the injuries will catch up to us, maybe sooner then later.
    Posted 09-04-2013 at 09:08 PM by homerj07 homerj07 is offline

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