Sep 17, 2007

What's wrong with the Saints?

The Saints' bandwagon is a lot less crowded this week after their 31-14 defeat in Tampa. It's not just the fact that they have lost 2 games in a row, it's how bad they've looked. They were dominated by the Superbowl champs and now they were dominated by a team that only won 4 games last year. The defense doesn't scare anyone, and the former #1 offense in the league can't get out of its own way. What is wrong with the Saints?

The offense starts and finishes with Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister. Both are playing frustrated right now. Deuce isn't seeing any daylight and after getting poked in the eye, he didn't play much more yesterday. The offensive frustration can be seen more in Brees' body language. Dropped passes yesterday killed their early momentum. The "Cover 2" defense has confused Brees and forced him to settle for check downs. They start pressing and then nothing goes right.

The defensive front four is playing OK, while the secondary is playing worse than last year, if that's possible. The upgrade at CB, Jason David, has been a total bust. Fred Thomas could do no worse than David's performance in the first two weeks. The safeties rarely make it over to help the CBs in coverage and big plays are still being gained at will.

Lastly, the new most dreaded words for Saints fans: Olindo Mare in to attempt a field goal. This guy is terrible. Sure he can get touchbacks on kickoffs, but last time I checked, you don't kickoff that much if you aren't scoring. With the Saints averaging 12 points a game and Mare being only 1 of 3 on FG attempts, Saints fans are left to wonder why the accurate John Carney was let go.

Has the team been reading its own press clippings? Did they think that the big plays would come as easy as last year? Are they trying too hard to duplicate last year's success? Is Sean Payton making the offense too complicated and trying to live up to his genius hype? Will the defense ever be able to stop the big play? Can New Orleans just not handle high expectations?

It's one week until the home opener on Monday Night Football against Vince Young and the Titans. Let's hope that the home crowd can light a fire under the team, otherwise it's "the same old Saints."

No comments: