New Orleans Saints' preseason has to be tough for Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy to gauge
I'm trying to think of the problem facing Green Bay Coach Mike McCarthy right now. Ordinarily, he'd be hunting for the latest videos on the 2011 New Orleans Saints, who'll be at Lambeau Field in five days to play his defending Super Bowl champs in the season opener.
Eric Gay/The Associated Press
Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy has a lot to think about getting ready for the New Orleans Saints.
McCarthy had to realize it would serve no purpose to show the Packers tape of the game against the Tennessee Titans, because the first-stringers did not participate.
He also had to figure, had he done so, the video of the Saints who did take part in a 32-9 defeat was so comical he might have run the risk of watching the Packers die from a laughter overdose, courtesy of Comedy Central.
The art of mixing three lost fumbles with two interceptions.
The sight of the newly signed Saints kicker, a 20-year NFL veteran, going "wide left" twice, once on a field-goal try, once on an extra-point attempt.
Best of all, there would be the picture of a rookie Titans quarterback, Jake Locker, taking the snap, running right, then watching Saints' defenders seemingly run away from him, as Locker walks 22 yards into the end zone, wondering if he might have a case of body odor.
Who says preseason football is not entertaining?
If he shows the Packers tape of the Saints' game against the Houston Texans, they'll watch the New Orleans defense give up a month's worth of yardage in one half.
If he picks the Oakland game, he'll have to make it strictly a Drew Brees highlight reel.
I think McCarthy's best bet, at this time, would be to go back to last season's opening game when Sean Payton's Saints were defending world champions and the opponent was the Minnesota Vikings.
It was a Garrett Hartley kick that sent the Saints into the Super Bowl. In the 2010 curtain raiser, it was a matter of the Saints "overcoming" Hartley, who went "wide left" twice, leaving the Who Dats squirming in their seats.
The Saints won 14-9 by air and by land, with a defensive group that made life miserable for Brett Favre and his band of mates in purple jerseys.
On the opening drive, Brees mixed throws from the shotgun with handoffs to Pierre Thomas as the Saints marched 74 yards into a quick lead.
Brees threw for 237 yards. Thomas finished with 71 rushing yards, the last of it on a ball-control journey that ate up the last six minutes.
Payton had opened a new season with his team scoring a mere 14 points, fewest by any Payton team in a victory.
Jonathan Vilma came up big in that one. When you ask the linebacker if it's tougher to repeat as defending champion, and easier to come back and win two years later, a position the Saints now find themselves in, Vilma sees no difference.
"The Packers are feeling like we felt last year," he said. "It's a feeling of 'been there, done that.' We didn't fail to repeat as champions because of any added pressure. I don't buy that. We didn't play well enough, that's why. I tell you what. It helps to win a first one, no matter what happens next. Can we win another one? I don't know why we can't. We're like the Packers. Been there, done that. We have the people to win again. So does Green Bay."
In Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl MVP like Brees, the Packers have a 27-year-old quarterback who, going into the season, said: "We're just getting started."
Vilma understands such euphoria.
"They're a deserving champion," he said. "So were the '09 Saints. It's a long, long road. Sure, we've had our defensive problems in the preseason. But this is a new season. We've got a bunch of guys who have 'been there, done that.'"
Come on really!?!?!
If he shows them a pre-season game at all he shouldn't be a HC in the NFL.
There is no secret to what we do by now there is plenty of tape of what we do and we don't hide it either... We lose a player and we replace the him with the same type player if not better. So guess what we do what we have been doing the past few years.
The only problem is matching talent and you don't know what we are calling when.
Packers look really good and talent wise I think they can match us...
He aint the only one..
It's no secret what we do on offense. Defense is a different matter.
Anxious to see what happens with the D - no real worries about the O
i liked the read except for something in the last line from vilma. i hope we're not 6-8 games into it before this defense gels
Hard for Mike McCarthy to judge the Saints?
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