Monday, September 17, 2012

Saints go 0-2: Weeks 1 & 2 {2012}

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I would be lying if I said I was not ashamed of the Saints right now. I love them, I do. I am still a Who Dat and I still have faith that they will make something of this season, but their playing the last 2 weeks should leave any fan concerned. I just didn't have it in me to blog after Week #1 so I am doing 2 weeks in one here. 

Week #1: Redskins @ Saints 
Week #1 (September 9th) we faced the Redskins at home. Maybe the fact that we went undefeated in the Dome last year lowered my pre-game anxiety. But, then the game started. I had my Saints gear on. I was ready to see my boys whip the Redskins tail and show all the doubters that we had overcome the adversity. These are the things I saw in Game 1 that contributed to our loss:
  • Offensive Line - Where was Brees' protection? We were letting the defenders pressure him all day. I wish we hadn't let our O-Line get broken up because we had the best in the league. Protection for Brees is a must! 
  • Offense Out of Sync - I'm not sure why, but the offense had been out of sync the entire game. Brees didn't seem like Brees when he was passing. There were many critical dropped passes. There was the Colston fumble. There was 2 interceptions thrown by Brees. This offense just wasn't OUR offense. 
  • Defense - Primarily the secondary. Injuries at Corner didn't help us at all. I feel our secondary has been weak for a couple years now. I knew we were facing a season without Vilma (which we may still lose him depending on Goodell's next punishment), but I felt the additions of Lofton, Hawthorne and Chamberlain (he ended up on IR) were good moves. These are veteran guys in the league who would have no problem learning our defense. And, as for tackling; has anyone bothered teaching our defense this? When I see a good tackle, 99% of the time its Jenkins. I catch myself yelling at the TV all the time to either just prevent the reception or stop forward progress! Make that the priority. Then worry about forcing a fumble, stripping, interceptions. Our defense can't keep letting these teams get downs; they need to be stopping them. I am really hoping Spagnuolo is still working out kinks and our defense is still getting used to his defense. I don't like soft defenses. 
  • Coaching - As much as I hate to admit it, I am beginning to believe Coach Payton has a bigger influence in this team than originally believed. But, Brees is a strong leader, he should be able to lead this offense almost as well as Payton. 
  • Replacement Refs - No one else seems to notice this, but it is a major contributor especially to this game. The final score was 40 - 32. However, in case no one noticed, the pass interference call on Roman Harper was wrong. It should not have been called. Now, here's why this botched call affected this game. That play was on 4th down. Harper was clean on his block; should have been incomplete pass not a flag for pass interference. Therefore, Washington never would have had the chance to get the touchdown on the next play because ball would have gone to Saints on downs. So, because of this botched call, we'll never know what the final score would have been. They could have still won. Or the Saints could have won despite all the other problems they were having. 
One highlight was the blocked punt which resulted in a Roby touchdown. 

Grades: Offense: D Defense: D Special Teams: B Coaching: D {And can I please give the Refs a grade??? D}
Yes, I was harsh. But, I have to be honest.


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Photo Courtesy of Nola.com

Week #2: Saints @ Panthers
The way the Saints started out in this game, I was excited. It was looking like the Saints offense I love had re-emerged. As time went on, I realized I was wrong. Here's my take on what contributed to this loss:
  • Offensive Line - Again, we need to protect Drew! We need to get the pressure off him. He makes irrational decisions when under pressure. So, this O-line needs to step it up and protect him as well as he has been in the past. 
  • Offense - While our offense played a little better this week, there were some critical mistakes. Drew's interceptions was one. Both Moore and Graham had dropped passes that could have been touchdowns. 
  • Defense - This is an area I felt has needed work for 2 years now. And it still does. Hopefully soon I'll see the great improvements in defense we need.
I can't really blame this loss on refs. Sure, there were missed calls, but nothing that would have critically altered the game. But, even with the regular refs, we still had missed holding calls and pass interference calls. 

Grades: Offense: C+ Defense: D Special Teams: B Coaching: C {Refs: B}

Now, we are 0-2 for the first time since 2007. Its a crappy way to start the season, especially one in which we have a major chip on our shoulders. But, even through the adversity, we will somehow come together, because....
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