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Super Challenge

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; SUPER CHALLENGE Oft-criticized last season, the Saints' defensive backfield faces the ultimate test in Indy against the Colts' high-octane offense Thursday, September 06, 2007 By Jimmy Smith Veteran Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie, the leader of the Saints' secondary, is coy ...

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Old 09-06-2007, 11:06 AM   #1
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Super Challenge

SUPER CHALLENGE

Oft-criticized last season, the Saints' defensive backfield faces the ultimate test in Indy against the Colts' high-octane offense
Thursday, September 06, 2007 By Jimmy Smith

Veteran Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie, the leader of the Saints' secondary, is coy when talking about the challenge of facing the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts on their home field in tonight's nationally televised season opener.
"I'm sure you're probably not aware of it, but every game is a challenge -- and from that standpoint, it's going to be a challenge because it's our first game," said McKenzie, breaking into a smile.
But certainly, facing Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on his home turf, with a bevy of quality receivers and an offense capable of putting up big numbers . . .
"Just in case you hadn't noticed, last time I checked, everybody in the National Football League is being paid," McKenzie said.
Point taken.
Yet the Saints' secondary, at times considered the weak spot on a team many think could reach Super Bowl XLII, is under the most intense scrutiny in tonight's game.
"That's what it looks like," Saints safety Roman Harper said. "You've got probably the two top offensive teams, and both defenses have struggled at times. Indy has been on and off defensively, just like the Saints have also.
"Definitely, it looks like it's going to be a big offensive game. Both defenses are going to come out there and rise to the pressure. The crowd's going to be on fire, it's on national TV, so you've got all that extra juice going into it. Everybody's going to be playing fast. The team that makes the fewest mistakes is going to have the best chance to win."
On paper, the Colts' 2007 offense is just as formidable as Indianapolis' offenses of the past.
Manning's favorite receiver, Marvin Harrison (95 catches for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns in the 2006 regular season), is there on one side of the Colts' offense, flanked next to tight end Dallas Clark (30 catches, four touchdowns) or backup Ben Utecht (37 receptions), and New Orleans native Reggie Wayne (86 catches, 1,230 yards, nine touchdowns) lines up on the other side of the line.
Coming out of the backfield is second-year tailback Joseph Addai (40 catches, 324 yards; 226 carries, 1,081 yards, seven touchdowns).
Manning's exhaustive preparation seems to make him aware of an opponent's every nuance.
"He knows what you're doing whenever you start to tip your hat," Harper said. "He's smart and makes all the checks. He puts the offense into great positions all game long, all the time. Just knowing we're playing against a quarterback who makes a lot of checks, who's smart and keeps his offense in great spots, you've just got to prepare for that as best you can."
Every member of the Saints' secondary will have had an opportunity to play against Manning in last summer's exhibition game in Jackson, Miss., or in a regular-season game.
Two backups, safety Jay Bellamy and cornerback Fred Thomas, were starters the last time the teams met in the regular season, in 2003, when Manning torched the Saints for 314 yards (completing 20 of 25 passes) and six touchdowns in Indianapolis' 55-21 victory.
"He got off the bus hot that day," Bellamy said. "You've got to be sharp and patient in the secondary, especially as a safety. It's different on the corners. It's important for us to stop the run to take the play-action away from them. If they've got both going, it's going to be a long day for the safeties."
Said Thomas: "He's a very experienced guy. He's one of the best, and he proved it that night (in 2003). Everything he does, he makes everything look so much alike, it's hard to read. It's kind of like the Michael Jordan theory: Let him score his points and hope we outscore them. It's all about preparing for those guys, going out, doing the right thing and making sure we're on the same page.
"We think it'll be a pretty good game. It'll be a great experience for this team."
The fact that Manning has developed such a tight relationship with Harrison, Wayne and Clark makes the defense's preparation that much more difficult.
"The challenge is that you've got an offense, a group of guys who've been together for a while," Saints cornerback Jason Craft said. "The wideouts, the quarterback, that core has been together for a while. It's always a challenge when you play a team that has been on the same page for a while. It makes it tough because they play a lot faster.
"You want to try to disguise some things, but a lot of times you just want to line up and play. You have Peyton back there who's a very smart quarterback, and a lot of times he knows what you're doing, anyway. Sometimes it doesn't even matter. A lot of times they like the hurry-up offense, so you can't do that much disguising. You've just got to line up. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. A lot of times he wants to play games with you to act like he doesn't know what's going on, but he knows what's going on."
Jason David, the man likely most prepared to face his former teammates, said that though his current comrades have been picking his brain since his arrival in New Orleans on April 27, he hasn't been able to provide many specific pointers.
"I think the one thing I tried to explain to them was playing against this offense you try not to get lulled to sleep," David said. "Every play, you've got to feel like you're under the gun, whether you're a safety, a corner or even a linebacker, because their offense is so explosive, you never know who's going to get the ball or when the big play is going to come.
"You've got to act as if every play, every down, is coming to you
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Man o man when does blacksaint wake up to read all these. There are more out there but these are the ones IMO had a little something extra to them. Hats off to blacksaint but for the LOVE OF GOD get back on line.

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Old 09-06-2007, 11:21 AM   #2
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Re: Super Challenge

Wow Hagan, kudos to you, 11 posts in 30 minutes, thats friggin impressive... I hope the saints offense is as prolific this evening as your posting powers...
Keep up the good work...
Geaux Saints!!!

NOLAmite
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: Super Challenge

Originally Posted by NOLAmite View Post
Wow Hagan, kudos to you, 11 posts in 30 minutes, thats friggin impressive... I hope the saints offense is as prolific this evening as your posting powers...
Keep up the good work...
Geaux Saints!!!

NOLAmite

lol nahh
I think he just has the fever
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Old 09-06-2007, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Super Challenge

That was an excellent post!!
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