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Still Not Surprised

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Posted 09-16-2013 at 03:13 AM by BoudinSandwich

At this point, I assume those of you reading this have read my previous blogs. And, if you have, then you know what I'm going to say. Make no mistake, I'm not bragging. I'm also not claiming I predicted anything. In fact, all I'm doing is responding to something I've already seen.

I've repeatedly posted about the same themes coming up over and over again. For instance:
Unfortunately, there is another lingering trend from the preseason that actually works against the team. The offense is not punching the ball in for touchdowns and are settling for too many field goals. This theme has been repeated in every game so far. With the way the defense is playing, the Saints can get by with it at the moment. However, they're going to have to start getting in a rhythm by the end of the year if they want to go anywhere. Hartley has been solid so far, but they shouldn't be using him. Also, there remains to be quite a few big plays dropped off finger tips. Kenny Stills has been really impressive, he just has to bring the ball down. The Saints have way too many weapons on offense to be dropping passes and stalling drives. I hope this issue will resolve itself eventually... if nothing else, by the will of football karma.

This is why I'm not remotely surprised with what transpired against the Bucs on Sunday. Take everything I've said, then add in the fact that it was a division game on the road (in a stadium where we struggle and give up turnovers) and the weather was horrible, and what you have are a bunch of factors that make this same trend exponentially worse. If you hadn't noticed the same trends before this game, then surely you've noticed them now.

I don't know what it is about the 20 yard line that scares the offense, but it petrifies them in fear. The Saints are 1-7 in the redzone in the first two games. Check it yourself: http://www.nfl.com/gamecenter/201309...ts&tab=analyze

My opinion says part of the reason is bad play calling. However, that also means that there are bad plays to be called. Those bad plays consist of forced runs for the sake of running. And, I don't want to be just another fan that bashes Ingram, but the fact remains that we struggle to run the ball with him. For whatever reason, it simply doesn't work. I understand that the Bucs actually have a good defense, but the Saints still made it to the redzone, didn't they? They made it there 4-times. And, what happened after became horrendously frustrating.

Some time around the end of the 3rd Quarter, I told my wife that I didn't care if the defense gave up 3 TDs during the rest of the game, I was still going to blame the offense. More on the beautiful defense later. I felt like we were once again in the 1990s. The defense played their butts off and kept it close while the offense constantly botched every opportunity they had. After the pick 6, I actually told my wife that I'd sit Brees on the bench for the rest of the game and he could forget about starting game 3. There's absolutely no excuse for the way he played all game. He was terrible. And, I don't want to hear how "clutch" he was on the last drive. He sure wasn't clutch the 4-trips into the redzone, was he?

I see absolutely no reason to celebrate this win. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect every game to be a blowout and I love spectacular, heart-attack wins. However, this game was different. I hear people saying this was "a hard fought victory" and I'm calling B.S. on that. This was not some kind of back and forth battle of heavyweights. This should have been a blowout. This was Botchamania Saints-style. (Warning: Language )

Now, I love my Saints, so I can't bash on them for the whole post. While their was plenty bad, there was also plenty good. For everyone saying, "it's just preseason," we are now 2 games into the regular season. The Saints are ranked 10th in total yards given up and tied for 6th in total points given up ( http://www.nfl.com/stats/team ). That's with 2 teams left to play, which can't drop the Saints lower, only boost them higher. Now, obviously I expect them to drop down in rankings over the course of the season, but I think they may even be better than I was giving them credit for initially.

I've mentioned how deep the D line is. There's so much talent, even at the bottom rung. Unfortunately, we're nearly down to our bottom rung with injuries. Yet, the defense still impresses. Martin did manage to get a decent running game going against the Saints, but none of it seemed to be very meaningful. Tampa is also one of the best running teams in the league. And, after all was said and done, the offense gave up just as many points as the defense. (It was much more if you count the points the offense failed to score.)

I expected the pass rush to be slower on natural grass and it was. That said, there were still tons of rushers coming free. Had it been an artificial surface where the players could run with more speed, Freeman would have been in a lot of trouble. People said Rob Ryan isn't a miracle worker. I'm willing to challenge that notion. And, once again, enough can't be said about the impact that Kenny Vaccaro is making in his rookie year. I also have to mention both Galette and Jordan who are becoming too much for O linemen to handle.

It's two weeks into the regular season and the offense still needs to catch up to the defense. Ultimately, I have faith that the offense will find a rhythm and correct their redzone woes. They just better pick up the pace because I don't know how much longer the defense can carry the team.

The good news is that we get the Arizona Cardinals at home this week, then the Dolphins the next week. These two teams may just be what the doctor ordered for the offense to get back on track. If not, this could get ugly.

I just wish I could have enjoyed this victory.
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  1. Old Comment
    BoudinSandwich's Avatar
    BTW - The trend of the defense taking a bit to get going, then making corrections and getting stronger as the game progresses continues...
    Posted 09-16-2013 at 03:22 AM by BoudinSandwich BoudinSandwich is offline

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