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papz 12-15-2011 06:16 AM

Re-Focused – Saints @ Titans, Week 14
New Orleans – Three Performances of Note

The Block Party

The Saints’ offensive line has long since proven to be an asset—all five starters have positive cumulative grades in both run-blocking and pass protection—but they may very well soar to new heights as the unit continues to become more cohesive. The same group has started since Week 9 now and the results have been all the Saints could have asked for. Against the Titans, all five offensive linemen achieved a positive grade and four of them graded at +2.0 or better overall. Perhaps the Saints’ most well-known linemen, right guard Jahri Evans, was the worst of a strong group at +0.8. To his right, Zach Strief (+4.0) was the best of the bunch. Strief has graded in the green in every game since returning from an MCL sprain in Week 9 and had his best game this season against Tennessee. Strief allowed only one pressure in 53 pass plays and helped propel Chris Ivory for big gains in the run game twice, including a 14-yarder at 2:18 fourth quarter that gave the Saints a chance to run out the clock. Strief wasn’t the only lineman to hold up well in pass protection as the unit allowed only six pressures in all, giving them the sixth-highest Pass Blocking Efficiency rating of the week.

Sproles and Colston Pace the Offense

While the Saints did put up over 400 yards of total offense, not everybody was at their best. The production was more a testament to Brees’ decision-making—outside of nearly throwing an interception to Jurell Casey in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter—and the offensive line’s blocking than the performance of the so-called skill position players. Jimmy Graham was limited by back spasms and the Saints needed somebody to pick up the slack. Devery Henderson (-1.2) Robert Meachem (-1.5) and Lance Moore (-1.5) weren’t up to the task, but Marques Colston (+1.6) and Darren Sproles were. Colston caught all seven balls he was targeted on and produced 105 yards to go with his two touchdowns, giving Brees a perfect passer rating when throwing his way–his leaping, scoring grab at 12:47 fourth quarter may have been unreachable for some wide receivers. Sproles made plays whenever the ball was in his hands, be it a handoff or check-down pass, and had 97 total yards on 12 touches.

Linebackers have Little Impact: A Recurring Theme

The Saints’ linebackers haven’t been the most effective unit this season—with only one player barely grading positively in cumulative ratings—and it was more of the same in Tennessee. Again, each Saints linebacker who saw action graded negatively, except Martez Wilson who played only 12 snaps. Jonathan Vilma has been over-hyped since joining the Saints and has graded negatively in 11 consecutive games dating back to last season. In this game he failed to record a defensive stop and applied pressure only once in 17 blitzes, but he was far from the worst offender. Ramon Humber (-2.3) gets that recognition with a truly invisible performace—no pressure and no tackles in 31 snaps. JoLonn Dunbar was a little more effective than the others in regards to his pass rush (+1.8) and had the game-winning sack, but only after allowing the Titans into the red zone in the first place by losing track of Nate Washington streaking down the middle.

Full read.
Re-Focused - Saints @ Titans, Week 14 |

homerj07 12-15-2011 07:07 AM

WHy do we put LBs on WRs - even I know that does not work.

Is the problem GW OR is it the personel?? :doh:

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