After review, It keeps coming back to coaching
I am winding down my saints thoughts for this past season and from reading the comments by players and coaching my conclusion is the coaching staff is the problem. I am not taking an easy shot at HAZ for leaving brooks in when he was hurt but the overall lack of preparation and quality game planning.
I also think the worse coaching job on the team was on the offensive side. Take Brooks out of the picture. I had been saying for the last 5 weeks that they changed the offensive philosophy after the bye week. HAZ finally came out and said that after the bye week the offense never got back in synch.
Here are my observations:
1. McCarthy obviously went conservative on the play calling and looked to dumb down the offense. The team went from passing on 1st down early in the season to running.(and this was with deuce hurt) This change kept puting the offense in 3rd and long situation vs. the 2nd and 3rd short situations seen previously. Thus the offense could never get anything going.
2. The pass rush was getting to the QB. It does not matter if this is the fault of the line or the QB, the coaching staff has to make adjustments. The line was said to be healthy and very capable yet the blocking schemes continuously failed. If the linemen were at fault for allowing the pressure to get to the QB then why didn't the coaching staff go to a 2 back set and have the RB block? Where was the rollout by the QB. I only saw maybe 5 rollouts by the QB the last half of the season and up until the last game they were successful every time.
3. The offense was unable to run a screen pass the whole year. This is one of the easiest plays to draw and execute but not in the saints play book.
4. With all the speed the saints had on the outside they never once ran a reverse or even a fake reverse the whole second half of the year. Actually I can not remember one all year.
5. How many times did we see blown assignments on the line and the players looking at each other in confusion? How does this happen after playing and practicing 10 or so weeks together?
Somewhere something changed on the offensive side and I don't see how it can be blamed solely on the players not playing well. Not once did I hear HAZ or any other coach say "we did not coach well today". Instead we always heard "we did not play well" or "we did not execute".
On defense, once the team faced a little adversity they fell apart. It looked like they were grasping at straws most of the time and I am not talking about the poor tackleing. The bigest coaching mistake I see their is a lack of talent evaluation and adjusting once they knew they had problems.
Overall, looking back on the collapse, I see fear in the coaching staff. Fear of making a mistake and fear of confusing the players by making changes. The coaching staff looked confused and maybe that is why they could not motivate the players.
The sad part of this, I heard HAZ brought in some media folks to review the carolina game film with him and he was pointing out problems. Basically it sounded like he was showing them his excuses. When it all comes down to it excuses only cover up mistakes, and I think the mistakes are more on the coaches than the players at this point.
After review, It keeps coming back to coaching
Sooner or later all things on the playing field will come down to coaching . From simple footwork to a players position mechanics . Anyone who has ever been on the football field has probably heard a coach yelling at a wide receiver \" You catch with your hands , not your body \" . On the defensive side \" You get your face mask between the numbers and drive through him and lock your arms around him \".
I remember hearing a story on a players sack record in high school football once , he attributed his success to tendencies . He noticed a few quarterbacks did something repetetive before going back to pass , at that moment he went all out . One player put a foot back further to get out from center faster , one leaned further back while under center and so on .
Do defensive coordinators defense a system or do they defense a player and his tendencies ?? If you are a defensive coordinator , do you defend Duece the same with a high ankle sprain ? No , with Duece injured you stack the middle and blitz the perimeter . Why , because you want him to put outside pressure on the sprain . Duece is still dangerous going North and South and less effective going East and West .
Brooks , now someone tell me by week 16 there was not a defensive coordinator on the planet that could not defense Brooks . 95 % of his passes are inside routes , hooks and slants , cut off the inside routes and look for the hooks . How many deep balls did Brooks thow all season long ?? The fly pattern is not an option with Brooks , when he launches these they are not even in the same zip code as the receiver . A direct result of this is , receivers are less likely to get open because there is less of a route threat , Brooks dances waiting for a receiver to get open and spends too much time in the pocket and Lineman cannot hold blocks for ever .
All this could be corrected with proper coaching , it all starts with knowledgeable position coaches . Coaches that know their position and were not promoted to it or brought in to fill a void . What makes a Quarterbacks coach an Offensive Coordinator ??
[Edited on 3/1/2003 by saintz08]
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