Well the Saints had their first game back in the dome, and even better they played against the Texans which meant I got to watch the game on tv. I went back over the game this morning and jotted down a few notes on what the Saints did, offensively, defensively, and on special teams. Since it is the Preseason and the 1st string only played about 1 1/2 quarters, I am only going to go over the 1st half series by the Saints Offense and Defense. However Special Teams discussions will involve the whole game. So make the jump for my thoughts on the game.
Great run by Roby, gets us with good Field position
1st Series O:
Saints mostly run the ball, mostly out of the I-formation. Many trick plays built in, ex: misdirection with Reggie. A little Variety with some Ace formation. Saints also love to use shotgun with empty backfield, but if you watched the Saints at all last year, you already knew this. O-Line does well in a pinch move in the redzone when Reggie runs in for the TD. When Bushrod and Evans are next to each other, as they block for Bush, you know the O-Line came to block. Score: Saints 7-0
Problems with tackling start to occur, allowing Holiday to get through holes that opened up.
1st Series D:
Saints standard formation is the 4-3 that night, going into a nickle package occasionally, but it show's we were either more worried about the Texans running the ball, or that GW had absolute faith in our DBacks. With how good our secondary is, either is plausible. Our Run Defense is dependable on this series, allowing 6 yards in 2 plays and forcing the Texans to have to pass for the 1st, any improvement in the Run D is good. Pass coverage is great as usual, forcing a 3 and out.
Ball rolls into endzone and had it been a half second slower, Saints would have had possession at the one.
2nd Series O:
Saints run a play fake, one of the many of the night. As well, how many times have you just watched Brees before the snap? I have always heard about Peyton Manning and his ability to read a defense and call an audible. But how about Brees? He calls audibles nearly every play, and almost always shifts someone in motion. While I know this is the mark of a great QB, it just feels good to say and its great to appreciate the little things like that. Anyway back to the film. Another Draw play by Brees and into Bush's hands, Brees will always have a different look when he runs the draw. Pass play from Brees to Henderson, although it is a dumpoff, Henderson breaks a tackle for the first. Also, it is interesting that the Saints ran the ball as much as they did. On the Texans, the weakest unit is the secondary, yet the Saints preferred to run for a good portion of the first 2 quarters. Brees was pretty inaccurate on this drive. He overthrew multiple receivers on the day, more on this later. Texans force punt.
Great punt by Morstead, hangs long enough, and he angles it to land outside the 10 yard line. Holiday muffs the punt which results in a big pileup around the 15 yard line. Priloeau with the recovery.
3rd Series O:
Brees is under pressure most of the night. The Saints O-line did hold the Texan's pass rush long enough, but it seems Brees needed a little bit more time on some plays, but he is so quick releasing the ball you can't tell how good the Texan's pass rush is. This falling down pass by Brees with the sidearm to throw it to Colston, I don't think it could have been any more beautiful. Brees has heart, and that will be the key to the two-dat. QB sneak by Brees, Miami style. As the Houston announcers pointed out, he had wonderful ball security, pushed the ball over the goaline then stuck the ball back under his chest for safe keeping. Is there anything he can't do? Score: Saints 14-0
Holiday muffs the kick again, in the endzone this time so he just takes a knee, if our guys were a bit quicker, we may have been looking at another turnover.
2nd Series D:
The Saints come from a 4 man rush and manage to sack Schuab with Sedrick Ellis, always great for our defense if we can bring enough pressure from a 4 man rush to take down QBs. Texans run the ball and get good yardage, still 3rd and long but even though our run defense is improved, we still need to step it up a bit. Now for some hilarity in announcing by the Houston announcers. "The Saints send a 4 man rush" even though only 3 men rushed when Hargrove went back into zone. And by the way, Hargrove, lay off the late hits. Hargrove's penalty revives the drive, and sends the Saints into a flurry of penalties. On the next play we have poor tackling but it does not matter since the saints committed a 12 men on the field penalty (Who knew we hired a Vikings coach or two?). Then you can tell Schuab was baiting the D-line as the entire line kept wanting to jump across every time, but he finally got one to bite for an offsides penalty. Penalties were bad and the Saints need to do some heavy work on fixing this, don't want another penalty fest for the Vikings game again. Poor pressure by the Saints later in the drive gives Schuab time to get the ball out. In the redzone the Saints give up 2 big running plays back to back one of them for a TD to put the Texans on the board. Score: Saints 14-7
Roby does pretty good on this return, gets to the 30 yard line, hit a hole but it closed quickly but he still manages to pick up another 5 yards before going down.
4th Series O:
(Daniel is now in for Brees, and Ivory and Hill start to make some appearances, but otherwise the 1st team is still in)
I love Ivory's vision, when he is about to run into a wall, he finds a hole and breaks it, he does this most of the night on non-short yardage situations. However, right after a great run, Ivory missed a block which forced Daniel out of the pocket and he had to throw it away. Right now, Daniel looks a little bit uncomfortable, maybe some jitters, he will get this worked out later, but right now he does not throw with full authority and is a bit inaccurate. He will throw it to PT but this forces PT to jump, and if not for the extra effort by Thomas, we don't gain as much yardage. Ivory pounds another one in for the 1st (I'm loving Ivory right now). Daniel goes with a play action, but a Texan does not bite and follows Daniel, he might need to work on selling the hand off a bit more. Bush is back in, does what makes me dislike him, dances. He gains a yard, but he still wants to make the big play instead of just trying to get another yard or two, but with how good he played, I can give him the benefit of the doubt here. Daniel is inaccurate to Wendys, forcing a 4th down, this goes back to his uncomfortableness early on.
Into the endzone as it bounces off Roby's shoulder for an illegal touching penalty. For anyone who happened to see the HOF preseason game, a Cowboy hit the ball, while still in the air, back onto the turf. Whereas had he not done that, it would have been a touchback, instead it was Bengal's ball around the 5. So it is illegal for the ball to hit you, but you can hit the ball? Either thats messed up, or it is a Yakov Smirnoff joke.
3rd Series D:
Arian Foster fumbles the ball trying to do the frontstroke, Saints surround the ball quickly and recover for the possession.
5th Series O:
Ivory runs into a wall of defenders for little gain, then Bush comes in and gets some yardage but a holding call on Zach Streif sends the Saints back farther. (Penalties are adding up quickly). Now this play I loved, the Daniel to Colston play. Daniel looked like Brees here, and he is getting comfortable in the pocket, he throws with authority and he moves around the pocket as well to. Great catch by Colston as well (since we seem to be having catching the ball lately).Ivory comes in with a spin move but has little to no gain, Texans were prepared for this run, PT comes in and suffers the same fate. Daniel is phenomenal on the screen pass to PT. He looks around the field and scans then looks at Pierre for half a second before throwing to him for the screen pass, fooling the defense and helping PT get the TD. And of course great blocking by our O-line, they are great in this game even with Stinchcomb out, and I feel a bit better about Strief. Score: Saints 21-7
Horrendous tackling, ST allow Slaton to put the Texans in great field advantage, they are getting worse as the game goes by.
4th Series D:
There is a blown coverage here, as Schuab picks apart the zone defense and throws one to the TE Dreesen for a big gain in between the zones. Andre gets tackled by Porter, he is tackled at the knees which knocks the wind out of him , that is a clean hit and if you don't take down Andre he will burn you, so chalk that one up to a great play by Porter. Porter has great coverage on this next play to prevent a first down. Defense keeps the play ahead of them and refuse to give up the 1st, great series by the D to force the FG. Score: Saints 21-10
Roby muffs this kick, but picks it up in time, breaks a few tackles to get outside the 20 yard line, which is a great recover by Roby.
6th Series O:
Ivory is a hard runner, fighting for every yard he can get. Daniel to Arrington, I love this connection and it's amazing that this connection is between two backups. PJ Hill runs for I believe the first time, gains 1 yard, disappoints me.
2 Minute Warning
Ivory gets the ball and runs extremely well, gaining 10 yards even though he slipped and hit the turf,(He put on the wrong damn cleats!, Guess that means he is the perfect replacement to Bell). Daniels continues to pass like a starter, Ramsey has to be sweating right now, and in order to impress me he has to pull out a wonderful performance next week. Ivory has a bad run, goes for 3 yards (Isn't it great that a bad run by Ivory is a 3 yard gain?). Daniel looks to pass then cross the line of scrimmage and gets the first before going out of bounds. However Daniel then has a bad pass to Wendys, but he does hook up with Arrington on the 1 yard line. Payton gets Daniel to go for it, and he will go for many 4th downs in this game. Daniel throws a 1 yard pass to a FB Kensey, however this only happens with a block from Ivory, he made a crucial block in the backfield that would have hit daniels and forced him to throw a duck, or even sack him.
Halftime Score: Saints 28-10
Special Teams play: (I will list them all in case anyone wants to watch the game again, even the touchbacks)
Kickoff after Halftime:
There are holes everywhere, tackling is horrendous, this is not the special teams I am looking for.
Porter with a faircatch (I don't like Porter returning kicks, too many chances for injury)
There is bad tackling again by the ST, but there was a holding call so maybe it isn't 100% their fault, but they still need to work on it.
Into endzone for a touchback
This was a play action by Daniel, and this was his blemish of the night, horrrrible throw, double coverage by the defense, and he was trying to force this pass in. This was a rookie mistake and it is the preseason so meh who cares, but he needs to do some more work on his reads.
PJ Hill returns this one, gets some yardage, but he is a slow runner, not good for RBs.
Now there was a lane open that led straight to the endzone, but luckily the returner was tackled and flipped before he could make it through, a rare bright spot by the Special Teams.
No blocking, no tackling, bad return. Special Teams need 1,000 laps around the block for their performance tonight, they keep doing this and I will jump on the "Fire McMahon" bandwagon.
More poor tackling, this is getting ridiculous, wrap up and tackle, aim for the gut or the legs, hell pay me 100K and I will go do it for them.
Saints win 38-20.
Player of the game is Chase Daniel, he was great, best runner has to go to Bush, Ivory was great, but he did alot of his carries against 2nd team defense whereas Bush was usually going against the 1st team.
On Defense, I liked Porter, he was great in coverage. Where was Casillas? Where was Junior? Who is Bobby Mccray?
for how good the defense was some players faded into the background.
The O-line was the deciding factor in this one, gave Drew and Chase plenty of time, and when they didn't have much time, they had quick releases.