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papz 01-09-2012 08:04 AM

Re-Focused: Lions @ Saints, Wild Card Round
 
New Orleans – Three Performances of Note

How do you Slow These Guys Down?

It is approaching the point of being unfair now, how is any team in these days of anemic defenses supposed to match up across the board with everything they can throw at you? The Lions knew that even though getting into a shootout was ill advised it was their only chance of victory here as their defense was never going to matchup across the board with the Saints. That proved to be just the case and when the Lions gave them two free scores that just put it over the top. Sproles (+2.0) was again the X-factor with 85 all-purpose yards and a deadly burst on his touchdown scamper, Brees (+6.6) made a couple of mistakes but was clinical when he wasn’t made to pay for those errors. The most concerning thing for upcoming opponents has to be how good Thomas (+3.9) looks and how fresh he is. Only eight carries last night, but a fairly devastating impact on those carries breaking four tackles, he is just waiting for a larger part of the offense when teams overcommit to slowing down Brees and his plethora of receivers.



Smith Delivers in the Crunch

This was far from a dominant performance from Will Smith (+1.4), but he exhibited exactly what a defender and a defense needs to do with an explosive offense like the Saints have. Come up with a couple of crucial stops in the second half to put some cushion between your team and your opponent. Smith came up with two quality individual plays that set the table for his teammates to pick up the pieces. On the first of those his defense didn’t pick him up, on the second they did and crucially so. The first big play came on a quarterback sneak at the goal line at 1:57 in the third quarter as he drove inside of Lions’ LG Rob Sims to stop the QB sneak short of the endzone. The Saints allowed Stafford in on a scramble the very next play, opportunity missed. The next play he came up with the Saints’ secondary matched him coming up with a rare positive play for themselves. Sims was again the culprit letting Smith inside of him as the Saints’ defensive end got in Stafford’s face and hit him after he threw. Saints’ LCB Jabari Greer beat Titus Young back to the air ball and the rest is history. If the Saints continue to come up with 40 points per game plays like this may be all they need for a second Superbowl in three seasons.



Jenkins Delivers… but not What He Might Have Wanted

It would seem that the theme of Wildcard Saturday this season was shoddy safety play. The only team to get away without some dreadful play from their safeties was the Houston Texans. Malcolm Jenkins (-4.8) and Roman Harper (-3.0) both struggled but Jenkins in particular was simply found wanting in coverage having to provide help for Calvin Johnson who was in no mood to be beaten by double coverage. Jenkins was beaten for one of Johnson’s touchdowns and but for an underthrown pass he would have given up a second on a play he stopped at the New Orleans two. Add in a pair of missed tackles on Calvin Johnson and this was a long day for Jenkins. How will he match up with a physical opponent like Vernon Davis next week? He certainly doesn’t get a week off in the playoffs to recover from that game against Johnson.

Full article.
Re-Focused: Lions @ Saints, Wild Card Round | ProFootballFocus.com

papz 01-09-2012 08:06 AM

Seriously though, I don't know what went wrong all year but Jenkins needs to re-discover some of those coverage skills. He's playing like a strong safety out there... not exactly what you want from your center fielder.

Danno 01-09-2012 09:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by papz (Post 366009)
Seriously though, I don't know what went wrong all year but Jenkins needs to re-discover some of those coverage skills. He's playing like a strong safety out there... not exactly what you want from your center fielder.

Dare I say Harper has looked better in coverage this year than Jenkins?

But you can throw the Lions game out. Calvin Johnson does that to everyone. Jenkins didn't play well, but he took the bullets for us.

We have another tough safety match-up this week with Davis. He's gonna get his, we just have to keep him from going off on us.

Budsdrinker 01-09-2012 09:49 AM

We will have to risk the possibility of getting some PI or illegal contact calls but we will have to hit Davis with a LB when he gets off of the line to go across the middle to throw the timing off with Smith.

papz 01-09-2012 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 366051)
Dare I say Harper has looked better in coverage this year than Jenkins?

I'd definitely say so... but we're one of the very few.

dizzle88 01-09-2012 12:10 PM

Jenkins looked good in coverage at the end of last year, with 2 picks in the rams game, one for a 99 Yard TD. Then he made crucial plays in coverage against teams like pittsburgh and falcons. I thought he had started to develop instincts from Sharper and would be getting some picks this year.

It hasn't been the case and i'm kind of disappointed he hasn't done much. I think Quddus has instincts to be a ball hawk and will challenge his spot next season


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