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papz 09-18-2012 10:17 AM

ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
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New Orleans Ė Three Performances of Note

Not What Weíve Come to Expect

Playing a team against which Brees competed 75% of his passes for over 700 yards and seven TDs in two games last season, many expected a bounce-back week for the Saintsí passing offense. That didnít turn out to be the case, as the offense moved the ball with ease at times but ultimately made too many costly mistakes. Many of those mistakes came from the normally cool Brees (-1.2), who recorded his lowest grade since Week 7 of the 2010 season. The Saintsí QB made a number of poor throws; none worse than the pick-6 to Charles Godfrey on a pass intended for TE Dave Thomas that should have never been thrown. And, for the second week in a row, any chance of a Saints comeback ended with Brees throwing his second interception on a forced ball over the middle of the field. The receivers had their share of errors, dropping five passes, including what would have likely been two touchdown passes on the third drive of the game.

Particularly concerning about the Saintsí passing game was the lack of verticality. A week after attempting 11 balls thrown 20+ yards down field (a number that led the league), Brees attempted just two such deep balls, while only 10 of his 42 passes (excluding balls thrown away) were thrown further than 10 yards in the air. In fact, 73% of his passes targeted RBs and TEs, making the loss of Robert Meachem to San Diego look even more significant.

The problems in the passing game extended to the offensive line as well, with Brees facing pressure on 40% of his drop backs. Left tackle Jermon Bushrod was repeatedly abused, allowing seven hurries and three hits, a performance good for a -5.0 grade in pass protection.

Defensive Struggles Continue

After a strong showing in run defense against Washington, New Orleans was gashed up front against the Panthersí shotgun-based rushing attack. Whether on zone reads, options, or traditional runs, the defense had no answer, allowing 5.3 yards per carry and several long gains, though it wasnít defenders losing individual battles as much as it was the entire defense being caught out of position much of the game. Missed tackles continued to plague the Saints, with the defense missing 10, a problem we pointed out coming into the game.

Elsewhere, the defensive line continues to struggle rushing the passer, generating just one sack which was largely a product of good coverage, and giving Newton all day in the pocket on several occasions. Only reserves Tom Johnson and rookie Akiem Hicks provided much of a spark in the passing game, though the pair combined to play just 35 snaps. Perhaps a testament to just how bad the pass rush is, the performance was a major improvement over Week 1 and most of 2011, as the defense generated pressure on 39% of Newtonís drop backs. The same can be said for the coverage, where Roman Harper, Patrick Robinson, and Malcolm Jenkins all improved on Week 1 performances; Corey White (-2.0), however, allowed five catches on six targets for 120 yards. On the season White has given up completions on all but one pass targeted his way.

Strong Running Game

If there was one positive for the Saints in their defeat Sunday, it was the success of the running game. After struggling to run the ball against Washington, New Orleans rushed 27 times for 163 yards. Leading the attack was Pierre Thomas (+4.0), who averaged 12.2 yards per carry on his nine attempts and added four receptions. What was most impressive about Thomasí day was his ability to run through contact, as he forced 12 missed tackles on 13 touches, gaining 77% of his total yards after contact; a performance good for an unheard of Elusive Rating of 717.9. Mark Ingram was not bad himself in this regard with 48 of his 53 rushing yards coming after initial contact. And, while a lot of the yards were made by the RBs after contact, credit the offense line as well: only Zach Strief graded negatively for his run blocking efforts.

Surprisingly, despite playing the most snaps of the trio and being the gameís leading receiver, Darren Sproles didnít receive a single carry.

PFF Game Ball

Though the Panthers won the game with a balanced attack, no one player stood out as much as Saints RB Pierre Thomas. His 12 missed tackles forced nearly broke our Elusive Rating and itís time to start the yearly conversation about getting the ball in his hands more often; assuming he stays healthy, of course.




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Danno 09-18-2012 10:20 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Well, can't really argue with any of that.

Shoe. 09-18-2012 10:23 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Yep those guys do a good job.

Any indication why we still haven't seen Ivory/Cadet?

|Mitch| 09-18-2012 10:23 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by papz (Post 440203)
Elsewhere, the defensive line continues to struggle rushing the passer, generating just one sack which was largely a product of good coverage,

We had great coverage at least on one play :bugeyes: It's a start! :bng:

Danno 09-18-2012 10:55 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Shoe. (Post 440207)
Yep those guys do a good job.

Any indication why we still haven't seen Ivory/Cadet?

Because PT and Ingram are doing very well.

SapperSaint 09-18-2012 11:08 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
The running game is the only bright spot right now.

|Mitch| 09-18-2012 11:12 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
The run almost looks unstoppable!

Shoe. 09-18-2012 11:31 AM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Danno (Post 440222)
Because PT and Ingram are doing very well.

lol Well played, Danno

Leave it to me to not recognize the obvious. And I gotta say I cheered pretty loud on that Ingram run where he finally demonstrated those YAC(ontact) that he was touted to have coming out of college. Looks to be coming into his own a little bit

QBREES9 09-18-2012 12:33 PM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Can't really argue with any of that at all

Mardigras9 09-18-2012 01:45 PM

Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2
 
Certainly gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, not. Truth hurts.


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