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WhoDat 09-08-2003 10:24 AM

Questions and Concerns
At this point, I am certainly not panicking – we’re only one game into the season, and let’s not forget that we basically controlled Tampa in the opener last season and look at what they went onto…

However, I have four major concerns.

1. Personnel on D – that’s no big surprise. Thus far, I am not impressed. Here’s my quick breakout:
DT – Average. I haven’t seen anything exceptionally good or bad from this spot. At least we do have good depth there.
DE – Hhhmmm – I though Grant played great yesterday, but now Howard’s gone for the bulk of the season. If these guys are supposed to be the anchors of the defense, then lose one can’t be a good thing.
LB – Smith is playing decent football. No real blunders, no real big plays. Rodgers is certainly a talent and speed upgrade, but the other side is still a big question mark. So far, I can’t tell if this group is any better than last year’s group.
CB – flat bad in my opinion. Slow, old, and can’t tackle well. This is a huge weakness for us.
S – really unimpressive thus far. Losing Mitchell hurt b/c Bellamy is not good. He can’t even tackle. Tebucky is still yet to show me that he’s anything more than average. NE may have pulled a fast one on us with that trade. We’ll see.

2. Player mentality - This is something I hadn’t though about until today, but I think it’s gotta be a major concern now. Those players that have been here a while (namely the offensive ones b/c the defense is almost all new) have been hearing Haslett promise the world for the last two seasons, only to be let down. After a 3 game skid at the end of last season, a 1-3 preseason, and now an 0-1 embarrassing start, I have to wonder if players like Horn and Deuce are beginning to doubt the coaching staff or even Brooks. I can say I have no idea if this is a real problem, but I’m worried about it. Winning is contagious, well so is losing. We’re 1-7 in our last 8, and if the players are beginning to doubt then that’s not likely to change any time soon.

3. Coordinators – It’s no shock that I don’t like Venturi, and continue to believe that our defense isn’t likely to make strides until he is gone. However, I have been behind McCarthy from the start… until now. Well, it’s not that I’m not behind him, I’m just beginning to wonder. The offense really began to falter mid-season last year and was pretty bad there at the end of the season. Everyone so far has said it was due to injuries to Deuce and Brooks… maybe. One other consideration is that McCarthy isn’t good at adapting. We all know in the past that the Saints haven’t been particularly good at changing their game plan in-game. I think that may be true for the long-term as well. I wonder if we’re not running the same plays in the same sequence now that we did game one of last season. Even our opening series of scripted plays looked predictable, and while I think Deuce is THE key to success on offense, 4 straight dives isn’t going to cut it.

4. Execution – this may tie into the coordinators or vice versa. Our O-line looked completely uncoordinated. Our defense looked lost at times. Passes aren’t crisp, holes aren’t big, screens get snuffed out from the start. I think we look very undisciplined. If that doesn’t change I doubt we’ll be able to improve much.

That’s where I stand. Even yesterday after the Miami upset and our terrible loss, I didn’t think for a second that we wouldn’t beat Houston. We’re much more talented, we’re at home, and I expect them to have a let-down game and us to have a bounce-back game.

However, the more I think about that, the more doubt begins to creep back into my mind. We’re bad at home. We play down to teams that we are more talented than… and most importantly, this is an interesting match-up. Houston’s O is probably as bad as our D, but they’re D is good – or at least has a lot of potential to be. Don’t kid yourselves, their secondary has some pretty solid players and with the 3-4 they should be able to attack and stop the run. This one pits strength against strength and weakness against weakness. We shall see. I certainly hope that we can get back on the winning track, I’m just not so sure that’ll happen.

WhoDat 09-08-2003 12:11 PM

Questions and Concerns
No comments here? Really?

ami2kind4words 09-08-2003 01:29 PM

Questions and Concerns
Oh how I miss Zook, Glover, Mueller and Knight

WhoDat 09-08-2003 01:36 PM

Questions and Concerns
Exactly! And Clemons on the outside... Zook and Meuller leaving have hurt us more than any player... maybe then every player to have left.

tweeky 09-08-2003 01:46 PM

Questions and Concerns
Nicely thought out DAT, especially the mentality part being contagious. I think Brooks smiling as we\'re getting it handed to us indicates he doesn\'t care. I think the team is a reflection of their leader.

I\'m also becoming just as concerned about McCarthy as I am Venturi.

These two may be sacrificed if we flop this year. Hopefully we just had a bad game and we\'ll get it turned around soon.

I just can\'t help but think what a Bill Parcells, Jeff Fisher, or even a John Gruden could do with this team. There\'s no question we have a lot of talent, maybe not top 10 on both sides, but at least middle of the pack or better.

saint5221 09-08-2003 02:01 PM

Questions and Concerns
Strong post WhoDat can\'t say Idisagree with any of it.

BigBull45 09-08-2003 02:01 PM

Questions and Concerns
Did ya\'ll see Haslett trying to console a despondent Brooks on the sideline?He looked like he was disgusted with the whole thing.

Deuces comments after the game about turnovers showed his disgust.

As long as the coaching staff laughs with the players on the sideline when we\'re losing,the players who are really concerned with winning are going to be disgusted.

I think players like Horn and Deuce should put some conpetitive fire under their laid back butts.Grant seems to have that fire too.

Venturi is too worried about everyone liking him, to get fired up at anybody,he dosen\'t want to get anyone pissed at him.

Loomis is just a yes man to Mr. Benson.He\'s just making sure that the players salary dosen\'t cut into Benson\'s profits too much.That\'s why Mueller got fired,because he didn\'t care about that as much as putting winning talent on the field.

[Edited on 8/9/2003 by BigBull45]

lumm0x 09-08-2003 02:49 PM

Questions and Concerns
WhoDat, I think people have backed off this post because we all don\'t want to look in the mirror anymore. It\'s like having a big dent in your 1957 Vette. You don\'t want to see it until it\'s fixed.

BillyCarpenter1 09-08-2003 03:36 PM

Questions and Concerns
Offense -- At some point in a game the defense is going to stop what you do best until you change and prove you can consistantly move the ball some other way. Most teams can go to screen passes or draws to keep a defense honest. We can\'t do that. We are terrible on screens and draws and unitl we learn how to run those plays, defenses will focus on taking our strengths away.

Defense -- Saw nothing wrong with the defensive scheme. Players were in position to make plays -- they just didn\'t make \'em. There were some blown coverages but not enough to be overly concerned. Missed tackles killed \'em again.

Quarterback -- Nothing to brag about, played about average yesterday. Without an effective screen pass or draw plays, he\'s in a very predictalble offense. Aaron needs a saftey valve to rely on when everything is taken away.

Special Teams -- Played terrible. Really a big surprise to me. I don\'t look for this to continue.

Coaching -- Not doing enough to make sure players do not make mental errors. Need to have more of a Bill Parcells attitude -- You screw up and you don\'t play -- No matter what your name is.

Attitude -- The defense seems to have taken on the personality of Rick Venturi. Not agressive, bend but don\'t break attitude. Venturi need to light a fire under their ass. The offense has lost the swagger they had when they were successful last year. I think they will have a breakout game and that swagger will come back.

Overall I thought the defense played better than last year. You can say Seattle could have done this or that, but they didn\'t do much against our defense. They should have had 40pts with all the turnovers we had yesterday. I think Hasselbeck threw for 137 yards yesterday, so if the receivers were wide open, Hasselbeck sure didn\'t get the ball to \'em.

BlackandBlue 09-08-2003 04:01 PM

Questions and Concerns
Hard to judge Rodgers when he didn\'t play yesterday. Hopefully, it will help this season.

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