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ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; New Orleans – Three Performances of Note Not What We’ve 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 ...

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Old 09-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #1
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New Orleans – Three Performances of Note

Not What We’ve 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 Saints’ passing offense. That didn’t 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 Saints’ 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 Saints’ 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 Panthers’ 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 wasn’t 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 Newton’s 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 Thomas’ 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 game’s leading receiver, Darren Sproles didn’t 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 it’s 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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Last edited by papz; 09-18-2012 at 11:19 AM..
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:20 AM   #2
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Well, can't really argue with any of that.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:23 AM   #3
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Yep those guys do a good job.

Any indication why we still haven't seen Ivory/Cadet?
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Originally Posted by papz View Post
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 It's a start!
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:55 AM   #5
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Originally Posted by Shoe. View Post
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.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

The running game is the only bright spot right now.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:12 PM   #7
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

The run almost looks unstoppable!
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Originally Posted by Danno View Post
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
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:33 PM   #9
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Can't really argue with any of that at all
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:45 PM   #10
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Re: ReFo: Saints @ Panthers, Week 2

Certainly gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, not. Truth hurts.
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