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Saints aim for quicker starts

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; # By LES EAST # Special to The Advocate # Published: Dec 24, 2009 - Page: 1C METAIRIE — The Saints’ ability to start better in their last two games might be the key to them finishing strong in the ...

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Old 12-26-2009, 09:59 AM   #1
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# By LES EAST
# Special to The Advocate
# Published: Dec 24, 2009 - Page: 1C

METAIRIE — The Saints’ ability to start better in their last two games might be the key to them finishing strong in the regular season.

New Orleans outscored its first seven opponents by a combined 58-41 in the first quarter. Since then it has been outscored by a combined 58-13 in the first quarter. For the season, the Saints have been outscored 99-71 in the first quarter as they prepare to host Tampa Bay on Sunday and visit Carolina on Jan. 3.

The Saints have had to play from behind in recent games and suffered their first loss after 13 straight victories when it fell behind Dallas 14-0 in the first quarter and 24-3 in the fourth quarter before a rally fell short in a 24-17 loss.

“We work on and make a point of emphasis of starting fast,” coach Sean Payton said. “That’s an area that we haven’t done as well with lately. Falling behind 14, you don’t feel like necessarily you’re going to get away from doing some of the things you want to do.

“When it got to 21 later in the third quarter it became a little bit more problematic, but I do think that’s an area that we’ve talked about and we have to become better at, starting with the field position and getting the stops that we want.”

The biggest drop-off has been on the offensive side of the ball, where the Saints scored on their first possession in five of their first six games, including four touchdowns.

“We’ve had a couple of these drives where you’re just trying to get that first first down and kind of get the ball rolling, and we haven’t been able to do that,” quarterback Drew Brees said, “and that’s really a lot of the momentum that’s created in that first drive is just kind of getting that first first down.”

When the Saints have failed to score on their first possession, the defense has generally compounded the problem by yielding points right away, generally leaving New Orleans playing from behind.

“It’s something we definitely want to address and something we really need to fix,” center Jonathan Goodwin said. “These slow starts in the first quarter, we’ve been really putting a lot of pressure on ourselves for later in the game and it (starting faster) is definitely something we’ve got to get back to.”

Early in the season, the offense and the defense were both getting off to fast starts and the Saints enjoyed some blowouts. If one side or the other would get off to a fast start, it would keep the scores more manageable until the other side gets untracked.

“We’re just not doing a good job of executing our plays early on in the game both on offense and defense,” running back Reggie Bush said. “We’re digging holes for ourselves early on in the game. It makes it tough.

“It’s hard to get wins in the NFL, I don’t care who you’re playing. So any time you get yourself in a hole you’re going to find yourself clawing and scratching to get back into the game. You just don’t want to be in that situation because it puts more pressure on the game in general.”

The Saints overcame double-digit deficits to beat Miami, Carolina, and Washington, but the deficits against the Cowboys proved to be too big to overcome.

“Defensively we haven’t started the games the way we did earlier in the season,” linebacker Scott Shanle said. “We have a great pressure package and we get after the quarterback, but when you get down 24-3 it really dictates to you how you’re going to play defense.

“It seems like every week an offense really does a good job of trying to find a way to attack us early with some things we haven’t seen on film from them, so there’s an adjustment period or a settle-down period for us where we have to go back to the drawing board a little bit.”

Safety Roman Harper said the defense needs to get stops at the start of games and give the offense better field position.

“We’ve got to be able to come out fast and get the emotions going early,” he said. “We can’t come out flat and last game I think we were a little flat. Dallas and came out and hit us early and the next thing you know we’re into the game and we’re down 14-0, so it’s very hard to play from behind in this league. We can’t continue to allow that to happen.”

2theadvocate.com | Saints | Saints aim for quickerstarts — Baton Rouge, LA

Last edited by papz; 12-24-2011 at 06:47 PM..
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Old 12-26-2009, 10:30 AM   #2
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Re: Saints aim for quicker starts

“We’re just not doing a good job of executing our plays early on in the game both on offense and defense,” running back Reggie Bush said. “We’re digging holes for ourselves early on in the game. It makes it tough.

This is true.
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Old 12-26-2009, 05:04 PM   #3
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Re: Saints aim for quicker starts

It is the loss of a good fullback that has really hurt our offense.

Why don't we try some three RB sets with all of them back there?? Two can block one can run. One can block two can go out for passes or stay back for a draw or whatever.
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