Inside the numbers on New Orleans Saints
Under normal circumstances, a 3-2 start in the NFL is acceptable. In fact, with only three NFC teams at just one loss through five weeks of the 2010 season, a 3-2 record places the New Orleans squarely in the chase for a division title and supremacy in the NFC.
When you are the defending Super Bowl champion and when both losses came against teams you were favored to beat, the record loses some of its luster.
Of course, we all realize that the Saints have not played like an elite NFL team thus far in 2010. In examining the schedule prior to the start of the season, it appeared that if the Saints could beat the Vikings, they had a shot to start 7-0 heading into a Halloween night game at home against Pittsburgh.
The Saints beat Minnesota. They beat San Francisco. While neither win was overly impressive, they were 2-0 and had Atlanta coming to New Orleans.
Despite being beaten up front, the Saints should have beaten Atlanta. Only a 29-yard field goal miss prevented that from occurring.
Another 29-yard miss by a different kicker played large role in the loss at Arizona. Jay Feely of the Cardinals made a 29-yard kick in the same game.
While 29 is the first and most obvious number to consider with the Saints' disappointing 3-2 start, a Beatles song reference is the next number to consider--"number 9, number 9."
Nine turnovers in five games is a real issue for the Saints' offense. Two of those turnovers were returned for touchdowns by Arizona. Conversely, the Saints defense has forced eight turnovers.
At this time in 2009, the Saints had turned the ball over six times and had forced 15, including three returned for touchdowns. That's a huge disparity. Think they miss Darren Sharper?
The next number to consider is 31. That's where the Saints rank in the league in rushing--out of 32 teams. New Orleans is averaging just 75.6 yards rushing per game. The absence of Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush has certainly hurt.
Bush-haters must acknowledge the fact that his speed, his presence, not only creates potential big plays for Reggie but opens up the field for big plays by teammates. Thomas is a smart runner with good vision and he is very good in the passing game, particularly in the screen pass game.
The biggest concern is that New Orleans has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, 30th in the NFL. The offensive line has simply not been as good thus far in 2010 as it was in 2009.
Another number of interest is 5. That's the number of interceptions thrown by Drew Brees, an average of one per game. While Brees is completing 71.4 percent of his passes, the 7.1 average yards per completion is modest, ranked 15th in the league.
Read the full article at NewOrleans.com
Get Bush and Sharper and the problem is fixed? The Saints just need a wake up call. :bng:
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