Saints' win over the Panthers, what went right and wrong?
While the next three games may not be pass-happy bombers, the Saints have a few other issues they need to address and correct or else each of these "semi-easy" games could turn into three more nail biters. Let's take a look at Sunday's game to see just what might be working and what needs being worked on.
What went right and wrong:
- One of the biggest, and most obvious, problems from Sunday was the dropping of catchable passes. Drew Brees may not seem 100% on top of his game so far this season, but I'd take even a 50% Brees over half the quarterbacks in the league right now. Still, when he throws passes to receivers and the ball hits them in the chest or hands and drops to the ground, that's just unacceptable. Jeremy Shockey had 2-3 drops of passes that were on his fingertips or right in his gut, but then just tumbled to the ground. Devery Henderson seems to be reverting back to his "bad hands" issues of a couple years ago that we all assumed he was past. For the third time in two weeks, Henderson dropped easy passes right in his grasp. This time it was a pass that had he caught it, saw him have plenty of green in front of him to run for a first down and then some. It's easy plays like that which are needed most of all when the offense isn't playing up to their full explosive potential.
- Chris Ivory and LaDell Betts filled in for the running game admirably even though it was incredibly surprising to see the rookie back in the game after an early lost fumble made for his second in two weeks. He went back out there though, continued to run hard, and made amends for his mistake. Betts, seeing his first playing time as a Saint, ran hard and strong showing no signs of problems with his rehabilitated knee. If Pierre Thomas can't return this week against Arizona then it's safe to say the rushing attack is in decent hands...or on decent legs at least.
- So John Carney came in and went three-for-three on field goal attempts including the deciding points of the game. Not bad for a 46-year old kicker that was busy with family events not two weeks ago. He'll be kicking again this week when the Saints travel to face the Cardinals, but don't think he is the long term answer. His age should tell you that right off the bat. Another thing is that Garrett Hartley is still on the roster and not going anywhere. He just needed a little bit of time to get his head straight and his concentration back on track. Stop losing faith in Hartley, he's going to be around a while and rightfully so.
- Two defensive players seemed to have a fire lit under them on Sunday, but one of them is having a career season as a whole. First let's look at Usama Young who came in as the injuries in the secondary began to mount up. Young started playing like a madman out there as he was in on pass break-ups and even emphatically recorded the first sack of his career. Young has always been one of those players I've seen so much talent and potential in, but then he does something that makes it seem like he shouldn't be out there (see: blown coverage in the Super Bowl). Sunday against the Panthers, Young showed exactly what I knew he had in him all along. He just needed to finally find it in himself and show it. His sack along with that from Malcolm Jenkins meant the Saints' secondary recorded two of the team's three sacks on the day. The other one belonged to my other defensive star.
Sedrick Ellis looks like he is trying to prove something out there this season. The big defensive tackle has three sacks already this season and two pass defenses. To put things into perspective, Ellis had 4 sacks in his rookie year of 2008 and 2 in 2009 yet here we are only four games into the season. He is filling up the middle of the defensive line and not allowing big runs which forces runners outside for linebackers and cornerbacks. If he continues his big play then we can expect to see a lot more Pee-Wee Herman dances out of Ellis as he racks up more sacks.
The Saints are doing a lot of things right but it just looks like they are missing "something" so far. It's hard to place your finger on exactly what it is because the mistakes are different each week and totally random. Special teams coverage improved greatly so then the Saints got called for a lot unnecessary penalties. Once the penalties were fixed, then the turnovers started. New Orleans corrected that issue a bit but then dropped passes plagued a talented corps of wide receivers and tight ends.
Both Sedrick Ellis and Drew Brees stated after the game that this team is not playing up to their full potential just yet and a lot of mistakes need to be corrected. Ellis then went on to say that it's kind of scary if they aren't playing as they know they're capable of yet they're still 3-1 and tied for the NFC South lead. If the injury bug takes a hike and the Saints can play at full speed then it could spell disaster for a lot of other teams in the NFL.
From THE EXAMINER
||10-06-2010 03:32 PM
Hurry up Sunday!
||10-06-2010 07:07 PM
Dang injury bug coming at us hard....:brood:
||10-07-2010 08:00 AM
The article is right on.
The only thing is left out is that Drew has been off target more often this year. Devery and Shockey were wide open and Drew threw them both a pass as if there was a man on their back.
The entire team doesn't look as crisp as last year...YET. Yes injuries have mounted, but we'll need to shake off the rust before we visit Cle and be ready for a very physical Pittsburgh.
||10-07-2010 12:07 PM
Good call Saintsfan1976, and you're right. I should have pointed that out as well. I have seen Brees throw into some EXTREMELY tight coverage. There was one to Colston down the middle of the field against the Panthers that yeah...Colston should have have caught, but it was in the MIDDLE of three defenders. And they were tight on him too.
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