Let this Review of HansDat's Hot Reads serve as your metaphoric couple of aspirin, ice pack, or ace bandage as we all try to turn the page on that fiasco and move on to thinking about the Carolina Panthers and another Heisman-winning running and gunning young quarterback...aw, cripes.
PRIMARY OPTION - PROTECT DREW BREES
What I'd Like To See: The line keep Brees from being sacked, and to provide a nice, clean pocket into which Drew may step when he needs those precious extra seconds that will allow him to get the ball into the hands of our offensive playmakers.
Well, Brees was sacked twice, suffered five hits, the pocket had all kinds of holes in it, and he was harassed pretty much all day long into a terrible passing performance. Among the 28 incompletions he threw were 13 defensed passes and some notable drops by his receivers. There's no other way to look at this than as a FAILED HOT READ on all levels.
CHECKDOWN # 1 - LOOKING AT THE LINEBACKERS
What I'd Like To See: I'm setting the bar very low here for a defense that is bound to experience some transitional growing pains as they work to master and implement new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's schemes. Be it upgrades Curtis Lofton or David Hawthorne, or serviceable retreads Jonathan Casillas, Will Herring, and Scott Shanle, or any combination of the above, all I'm asking for is that you don't make me scream in agony at the television at missed tackles, blown coverages, and being caught horribly out of position.
Overall, these guys didn't do horribly, but they didn't do well, either. With the low bar I set, (I didn't scream at the TV about them) this is a Hot Read: Achieved, but it's not very satisfying. Here are a few things I noticed before I quit taking notes to exemplify this mixed bag: Casillas did make a nice stop on third down to force a field goal on the Redskins first drive, Lofton couldn't complete a tackle on fourth down that would have ended a drive, and the first Redskins touchdown came on a play in which Hawthorne ran in on a delayed blitz and then the ball was thrown right to the area he vacated (GAAAA!). There's still some work to be done there, but it's far from god-awful, at least.
CHECKDOWN # 2 - HEY, R2D2!! R U READY FOR THE NFL?
What I'd Like To See: A shaky performance from a rookie struggling to keep his feet under him - at least three sacks, under 55 for a completion percentage, and two or more interceptions. They also need to contain him from gashing them with play-saving runs, too (under 20 yards for the game).
He sure looked ready, all right. I saw lots of heady play from this rookie. He totally killed Drew Brees in the passing stats, and ran the ball well, too (42 yards), but I think the threat of his run was more troublesome to the Saints defense than his actual running. The defense seemed to have a hard time keying on the ball when he ran those zone-read handoff/keeper plays. Another utter and complete FAILURE of a HOT READ.
SAFETY VALVE - A TALE OF TWO (SETS OF) SAFETIES
What I'd Like To See: The Saints win the safety dance with their safeties getting more takeaways and pass breakups than the Redskins. Wait a minute, did I really type Safety Dance? Yes I did, and here come the Men Without Hats to celebrate with us (they're really hard up for exposure)...you're welcome.
Even the combination of both a Dickens and a Men Without Hats reference wasn't enough to save this Hot Read. The Saints safeties must have left their boogie shoes in the locker room, as they were totally skunked in both of those categories, while the Redskins safeties notched three passes defensed and an interception. And indicative of the piss-poor showing is the breakdown of the 88-yard touchdown pass. Malcolm Jenkins rushed on a safety blitz and did not get to R2D2 in time, and then on the back end, Roman Harper failed to properly close on wide receiver Pierre Garcon, missing out on the ball and the tackle as Garcon cruised to the score. HOT READ: FAILED.
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Well, that was fun wasn't it? A failure rate of 75%, and the only reason it wasn't 100% is because I cheated with incredibly low standards on one and then graded it on a curve. So, we have lots of room for improvement for next week, both me and the Saints. Onwards and upwards, everyone!! And if you'd like to share your thoughts and feelings, we'll run some group therapy in the comment section.