Not a good day Sunday for the Who Dat Nation.
But, considering all that had happened in the post season, probably typical of what was expected.
People who thought that all it would take was for Drew Brees to flip the switch and return the roar of GulfBrees2011 (admittedly, myself included), had a sudden and violent jolt back to NFL reality last Sunday afternoon. Sometimes the old adage proves to be true after all: running game and defense does win sometimes.
And, the Saints had neither of those against the 'Skins.
[More after the jump.]
It says something when Pierre Thomas breaks off two runs of over 5 yards...and then is not seen or heard from again. Or...when Mark Ingram only gets 3 carries. Or...when Chris Ivory, their best power-between-the-tackles halfback, isn't even dressed out.
Apparently, the attitude of the Saints offensive coaching staff is that merely chunking to Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham (with an occasional Lance Moore sighting), and screens to Darren Sproles, will suffice to overwhelm teams. Well, with the way the offensive line (read, mostly, Jerome Bushrod) has sucked it up so far, that's not going to work too well anymore.
It may be a good idea to invest in a couple of burner WR's who can bust the inevitable two-deep zones and stretch the field vertically. Maybe resigning Adrian Arrington will help....or maybe the Saints may have to swallow some pride and go after someone like Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson as a stopgap.
A beter idea, though: COMMIT TO THE RUNNING GAME. Back away from the Madden '12 game plan (for now), and return to the basics. Use PT, Ivory, and Sproles as alternating TB/HB's, utilize Jed Collins more as a FB and David Thomas as an H-B, and play a bit more keep-away/ball control to rest the D and spin the clock; then use play action off that to hit teams deep. At least, until Spag's defense gets their feet in place.
The other lesson from Sunday lies with team LEADERSHIP: Too many cooks spoil the broth. An NFL team simply cannot coach by committee. ONE TEAM, ONE COACH; ONE MISSION.
Aaron Kromer needs to grow a spine and take leadership of this team for the time he is there; and that includes leadership over even Drew Brees and Pete Carmichel. I love Drew to death, and he is more than worth his new contract....but not even Drew Brees can lead a team by himself. That's why we pay COACHES.
I still think that it would have been better for the Saints if they had hired a true head coach that could have served the entire year, rather than this merry-go-round of Kromer/Vitt....but you dance with the company you have.
And they better get it in gear quick, because Cam Newton is like RGIII...but a year wiser. And, Carolina has an actual running game. And, no BenzaDome home field advantage, either.
We shall see what this team is made of next week. It will be the difference between a decent season and a long wait until Sean Payton returns next year. Get it in gear, 'Boys.