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Danno 08-29-2011 03:41 PM

ProFootballFocus - 1st Impressions Saints-Raiders
First Impressions Ė Saints @ Raiders
August 29th, 2011 | Author: Khaled Elsayed

I do, at times, find pre season fascinating. Sure, I donít think thereís a natural projection from it to regular season, but you can learn bits and pieces about teams and what they are going to do. You also get the occasional flash from players that make you stand up and take notice.

So I went into the New Orleans Saints trip to play the Oakland Raiders hoping to see some flashes, but also focusing on some of the newer players for New Orleans, and some players Iím hoping will step up for Oakland.

How did they fare, and what did I see? Letís find out after watching the first half of the game.

● Back last week I had a discussion with Neil Hornsby about Zach Strief. Essentially it went along the lines of me suggesting Neilís belief in the right tackle was a little generous in this piece, so I watched him on every play to get an idea of where he was at. On the 40 snaps I watched him in I started off quite impressed but that had tempered by the end of things. To give some numbers Ė 29 plays he was in pass protection and he gave up a hit and a hurry in the second quarter, but was pretty much perfect (one play where he picked up the wrong guy aside) than that. His work in the run game was a bit more uneven. He never really attacked when he got to the second level and it left him with mixed results. A nice play on Quentin Groves didnít make up for how easily Rolando McClain stood him up and shed his block to make a tackle. He does looks like an upgrade on Jon Stinchcomb at this stage however.

● My next port of call was to look at Shaun Rogers. Iíve always liked watching Rogers, if for nothing else than it seems to defy logic, and maybe even physics, how a man that size can move the way he does. Rogers was only on the field for 13 plays before his day was done, and he managed to make an impact, though the Raiders dealt with him well. If they werenít out and out doubling up on him with a center and guard (as they did on four plays), Samson Satele realized he was likely no match and eventually resorted to cut blocking Rogers on consecutive plays which was all the Saints needed to see to take him off the field. The only real interesting things to note with Rogers were the Saints used him both at 0, 1 and what appeared 3-techniques (as much as angles let you tell) and they took him off the field in their sub package. He still appears too strong and explosive at times, as evidenced by how he drove linemen back at 6:28 and 5:46 in the first.

● The last thing I wanted to get a handle on was how the Saints would use their linebackers, a group that rarely threatens to impress. It should be noted they started with the combo of Scott Shanle, Jonathan Vilma and Will Herring, with Herring leaving the field in their sub package. As I expected, nobody impressed. With the Raiders running the ball we were given example after example of why the Saints could struggle. Their linebackers just cannot shed a block. Whether itís Shanle getting moved by Jared Veldheer on the first play, Vilma taking a bad angle putting him in the crosshairs of an offensive lineman or newcomer Will Herring driven back six yards by tight end Brandon Myers, they are a collective liability. Whenever a Saints linebacker made a play it was because they were unblocked. They simply need to do a better job working off blocks and not leaving everything to the guys up front. At this rate the Saints run defense has a boom or bust feel to it on a play by play basis.

Read the rest...First Impressions - Saints @ Raiders |

Good read. Best site for great football anaysis.

Guys, Our Linebackers are really really bad.

papz 08-29-2011 03:45 PM

They need to stop this experimenting crap and just move Casillas into the starting lineup. Herring is so so so so so so bad. On defense, I don't make it a conscious effort to notice exactly how well the LB'ers are performing... but damn, I couldn't help but notice how bad he is. That stench kept slapping me in the face. I think Reggie would make a better linebacker than he would.

xan 08-29-2011 03:55 PM

With all the FA's available, why couldn't they just get ONE? (notice how I don't include Herring)

strato 08-29-2011 03:57 PM

I noticed the Raydas lineman were getting to our LBs ...none of the D looks good...

Danno 08-29-2011 04:03 PM


Originally Posted by xan (Post 324524)
With all the FA's available, why couldn't they just get ONE? (notice how I don't include Herring)

As awesome as Loomis and Co are at acquiring talent, it surprises me that our LB's are so bad.

I had high hopes for Herring, looks like I was just high.

You know its bad when we bring in an old Gregg Williams player who's been injured for a year and a half, and most have him pencilled in as a starter.

I realize Wilson and Casillas are really young and both just may be the answer at OLB, but they're gonna make some mistakes if thrown in there now. Then again, the benefits of them actually making some impact plays may offset the ocasional blown assignment. I'm sure GW has a plan, I just hope it works.

Euphoria 08-29-2011 04:37 PM

Our D doesn't have to click now...

Danno 08-29-2011 04:42 PM


Originally Posted by Euphoria (Post 324543)
Our D doesn't have to click now...

Obviously, but I'd just like to see them make a tackle.

jeanpierre 08-29-2011 06:47 PM

If Wilson is a more natural Mike Linebacker and Vilma gets high grades for his coverage skill, why not think out of the box and move Vilma to Sam Backer and let Wilson and his size take the Mike position?

papz 08-29-2011 06:53 PM

Because Wilson is raw and Vilma is a Pro Bowl MLB.

homerj07 08-29-2011 08:08 PM


Originally Posted by Danno (Post 324548)
Obviously, but I'd just like to see them make a tackle.

Thank you - that is exactly what I think!!

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