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BillyCarpenter1 10-19-2003 08:09 AM

Saints' offensive linemen take steps to improve

Saints' offensive linemen take steps to improve

Special to The Advocate


METAIRIE -- The unofficial motto of the New Orleans Saints' offensive line the last few weeks has been "Remember the Titans Game."
In a 27-12 loss at the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 21, the line played poorly, and the Saints' had season-lows of 11 first downs, 188 total yards, 23 rushing yards, and 1.5 yards per rush. The 165 passing yards were second-lowest and the three sacks allowed tied for the most.

Coach Jim Haslett, offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy and offensive line coach Jack Henry made it clear that the performance wasn't up to par and might have been the worst played by left guard Kendyl Jacox, center Jerry Fontenot and right guard LeCharles Bentley in their two seasons together.
There is more to this article and you can click on the link to read it, but it basically talks about how much improvement the offensive line has made since the Titan's game. Sure, there was improvement but I don't think the offensive line play has been very good in any game this year. Much of the time Brooks has instant pressure in his face and avoids the sack because he is a mobile QB. This is one of those things that a scrambling QB does that doesn't show up in the stats, but it's helps keep drives alive none-the-less.

But lets forget about pass blocking for a minute and talk about the run blocking. It sounds nice when you hear that Deuce went over 100-yards rushing for the day. I don't think it's that impressive myself. You MUST consider that Deuce is really the only back that ever carries the ball. There's hardly any team on Sudays that don't rush for over 100-yards. Look at what the Carolina rushing attack did against the Colts. Against the Colts, they by far had a better day rushing the ball than we did against that same Colts team and most of it was by their 2nd string running back.

Deuce is such a good running back that he is going to get 100-yards most of the time. But, right now the offesive line is not opening up very many holes for him. Usually Deuce is hit at the line of scrimmage and is gaining 3 or 4 yards after fist contact. I think you could put Deuce behind the worst offensvive line in the league and he would be able to put up 100 yards. I think if you put him behind Carolina's offensive line he would go over 2,000 yards for the season.

Now, back to pass blocking. There are times when Brooks has adequete time to throw the ball but not enough times. Brooks is constantly pressured and through his pure athletic ablity he buys time, and it makes the offensive line look better than they are. But this throws the timing off between him and his receivers. I'm not trying to say that Brooks doesn't screw up or that he doesn't need to improve in areas. What I'm saying is that this offenive line isn't giving him the protection he needs. I know Gator has commented on this several times, but I'm wondering if anyone else is noticing this? Look at todays game and see how many times he gets instant pressure and has to scramble. Then watch a team that has a good offensive line and see how much better protection their QB has. I just don't think our offensive line is very good at all.

[Edited on 19/10/2003 by BillyCarpenter1]

whowatches 10-19-2003 09:47 AM

Saints' offensive linemen take steps to improve
I completely agree with the pass blocking analysis. Brooks is not getting the time that he needs in the pocket. That fact has a great deal to do with the problems in the passing game. I think that Gandy is the biggest culprit in that department. I\'m very disappointed with him up to this point, especially when you consider the money being paid for his services.

As far as the run blocking, I\'m not sure. I just checked Deuce\'s stats, and he\'s averaging 4.5 yards a carry. In the Indy and Carolina games he averaged 5.9 and 5.4 respectively. That\'s pretty good yardage against pretty decent defensive units. So, I\'m a little hesitant to criticize the run blocking.

I would like to test your theory about Carolina\'s O line. You think they\'d swap with us for a couple of games?

BillyCarpenter1 10-19-2003 10:01 AM

Saints' offensive linemen take steps to improve
whowatches --

I am aware of the average yards per carry for Deuce, but I still think this has more to do with Deuces abiltiy, rather than good blocking by the offensive line. I could be wrong about this. But, it just seems to me that the holes he is running through aren\'t that big. He really hasn\'t had any long runs like he did last year.

I do know that defenses are concentrating on stopping Deuce, by putting extra defenders at the line, so maybe that\'s the reason the holes aren\'t there like they were last year. If we can get the passing game going, I think it will help out greatly.

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