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BillyCarpenter1 09-24-2003 08:37 AM

Saints Team Report


Saints Team Report
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Sep. 22, 2003 7:38 a.m.

Bad deal

The team's trade for FS Tebucky Jones is beginning to look like a bust. The pass defense has been shaky at best, and Jones, acquired from the Patriots for three draft picks, is not making enough plays. Through three games, he was credited with 12 tackles and three pass breakups.

P Mitch Berger is off to a strong start, averaging 47.0 yards per punt. He is a significant upgrade over Toby Gowin. One of the main reasons Berger was attracted to the team as a free agent was the speed of its coverage units. His punts tend to be long line drives, so he needs speedy cover men. So far, it looks like a good fit.

Second-year WR Derrick Lewis has moved ahead of Michael Lewis at the No. 4 spot. Michael Lewis performed poorly in the opener, failing to run out a route that could have resulted in a big gain and fumbling a reverse run that led to a Seattle touchdown. At 6-2, 190, Derrick has better size than Michael (5-8, 165) and is a more polished receiver. The move also allows Michael to concentrate on special teams. He gained a Pro Bowl berth on that unit last season.

Offensive system check

When the unit is clicking, the running game produces solid gains on power plays up the gut, and the passing game goes downfield for big gains on play-action routes to WRs Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth. But this season the unit has produced more turnovers, penalties and dropped passes than points and big plays. It all starts with a faulty running attack, in which RB Deuce McAllister has found little room to run. The lone bright spot has been QB Aaron Brooks, who in his third year as the starter is making better decisions and reading defenses better.

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