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New Orleans Saints defense goes from bad to worse in Week 2: Ten observations

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; 1. DEFENSELESS: So far, the new-look Saints defense has been hard to look at. After getting torched by a handful of big plays in Week 1, they gave up even more of them in Week 2. They allowed six plays ...

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Old 09-17-2012, 05:45 PM   #1
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1. DEFENSELESS: So far, the new-look Saints defense has been hard to look at. After getting torched by a handful of big plays in Week 1, they gave up even more of them in Week 2. They allowed six plays of 25 yards or more, including the 66-yard pass to Smith and a 40-yard run by Newton. They gave up 10 plays of 17 yards or more. They allowed 219 rushing yards to a Panthers team that had just 10 rushing yards last week. And they only forced one turnover when Newton fumbled a desperation pitch on fourth down.



It's not quite time to give up hope on new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's unit, especially since their first two games have come against unconventional offensive schemes and unique dual threat quarterbacks in Newton and Robert Griffin III. But it's disturbing that they seem to keep having problems with their zone coverage assignments, and there has been no indication so far that the Saints will be able to generate a consistent pass rush with their four-man defensive line.

2. BREAKDOWN: The 66-yard pass to Smith was an obvious breakdown in zone coverage. Rookie cornerback Corey White was lined up across from Smith in the slot, but his assignment was to cover the flat, so he let Smith go. Then both cornerback Patrick Robinson and safety Malcolm Jenkins chose to cover the same receiver on a deep post route, when one of them was likely supposed to pick up Smith.

Jenkins had a couple of struggles, in particular, on Sunday. He also lost containment on Newton's 40-yard run, among other breakdowns.

"There were a couple blown coverages. And every drive we kind of gave them one big play," Jenkins said, declining to name the specific missed assignment on that play. "Some drives we were able to withstand it, but sometimes it bit us in the butt. You know, some things we've definitely got to hash out, but I thought there were also some plays where we played good and we had some flashes of what we wanted to be like."

3. QUOTE OF THE DAY: Newton's description of the pass to Smith was priceless, especially considering the way Smith has tormented the Saints over the years. Said Newton: "I was thinking a lot of things. I was thinking first off I better not overthrow him. Second off, I'm happy that I saw him. And third off, give him a catchable ball so he can run with it. I was just as shocked as you guys were. For (anybody) on this field to be wide open, you would think Smitty would be the last person left open."

4. PLAY OF THE DAY: As big as Smith's play was, it wasn't as damaging as Brees' first-quarter interception, which was returned nine yards for a touchdown by safety Charles Godfrey to tie the score 7-7. It was an awful decision by Brees to throw the ball into traffic, out of his own end zone, and under heavy pressure from an unblocked pass rusher. Even if tight end David Thomas had caught the ball, it would have been a zero-yard gain.

"He made a nice play, Godfrey, but obviously that can't happen," Brees said. "Tried to extend the play and tried to at least make something out of nothing. But really that's a ball you just throw away and move on."

5. DROPPING THE BALL: One problem that did carry over from Week 1 to Week 2 for the Saints offense was dropped passes. Receiver Lance Moore and tight end Jimmy Graham dropped potential touchdown passes on back-to-back plays in the first quarter, forcing New Orleans to settle for a field goal. Later, receiver Joe Morgan dropped a deep pass. And Graham and Darren Sproles dropped short passes that were thrown slightly behind them as they tried to turn and run with the balls.

6. DROPPING THE BALL, PART 2: Cornerback Patrick Robinson also dropped an easy interception when Newton threw a gift right into his breadbasket in the third quarter. The Saints still don't have an interception, and Robinson has now dropped two of them.

7. GOAL-LINE STAND: It wasn't all terrible for the defense. They came up with an impressive stop near the goal line early in the second quarter. First, White stopped Newton inches short of a first down on a third-and-2 scramble. Then when the Panthers went for it on fourth-and-inches, both defensive end Will Smith and safety Roman Harper got a big push at the line, forcing Newton to fumble away a desperate pitch attempt. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas recovered.

8. PIERRE'S BIG DAY: Oddly enough, I just lost a friendly wager to a colleague Saturday night when I didn't believe that Saints tailback Pierre Thomas had just three career 100-yard rushing games. I guess that it had been at least six, but it was indeed only three (most of his big days have been a combination of rushing and receiving yards). As if to make me feel better, Thomas ran for 110 yards in nine carries, including a career-long 48-yard run in the fourth quarter. Thomas also caught four passes for 33 yards and repeatedly broke tackles and gained extra yards after contract. Clearly the Saints need to keep him more involved in their offense going forward.

9. CHECKING DOWN: The Saints also know the importance of keeping tailback Sproles involved in the receiving game. He caught the team's first five passes on that opening touchdown drive and finished with 13 catches for 128 yards. That wasn't completely by design, but the Panthers defense clearly made it a priority to keep their safeties back and prevent deep passes. Saints wide receivers caught a total of seven passes for 93 yards. Ultimately, that bend-but-don't-break approach worked for Carolina since so many of the Saints' drives stalled short of the end zone.

10. DISTURBING STAT OF THE WEEK: Since 1990, only 22 of 184 teams (12 percent) that started 0-2 went on to make the playoffs. However, three of them went on to win the Super Bowl (the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2007 New York Giants). And the Saints have been trend-busters in the past, becoming the first team to win a Super Bowl after losing their final three regular-season games in 2009.

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Old 09-17-2012, 05:59 PM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Saints defense goes from bad to worse in Week 2: Ten observations

Can we draft a CB that can catch please?

Geez, even Jason David caught 6 picks in 2008, we need a player like Patrick Peterson that has great ball skills and doesn't drop picks when he gets the opportunity
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Saints defense goes from bad to worse in Week 2: Ten observations

Yeah but Peterson went fifth. We'd have to do so poorly to pick that high...I mean really, do you want to see 2005 again? That's what it took to get Bush

But yeah, we kinda could use one of those playmakers on defense. I wouldn't even be picky about what position he played. Someone who raises the games of those around him, through either leadership or talent
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Old 09-18-2012, 10:06 AM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Saints defense goes from bad to worse in Week 2: Ten observations

Paging Mr. Sharper....
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