It's Saturday, and we all want to keep our attention focused on semi-pro ball, as opposed to the professional version of our national pastime. In fact, I'm not even going to proofread this post, such is my passion for other people's colleges.
Nick Walters is a Saints fan who charts the team's games for Football Outsiders. Here's what he has to say about what's right with the Saints:
Marques Colston: Colston is still making great catches and laying blocks like Hines Ward. Outside of a bizarre one-catch, two-drop night on Sunday Night Football against Seattle, Colston has been one of the few bright spots on this offense. However, because the rest of the Saints receiver corps couldn’t hang on to the football if it was stapled to them, he’s getting all the attention from the secondary and has been largely unable to create much. The Saints have tried a few hitches in order to get Colston free; one went for a touchdown early on, but then in the strange Seattle game, Colston inexplicably dropped another.
Mike Karney: That couple you saw in Cleveland for last year’s opener in matching Karney jerseys? True fans. Karney’s biggest fan, though, seems to be Sean Payton. Karney’s 26 touches in 2006 were more than the previous two years combined, and he’s on pace for 32 this year. His three touchdowns last year (all in one game) should also be eclipsed without Deuce McAllister around.
They’re not the Rams: I mean, it counts.
Fewer swing passes to Reggie Bush: Saints fans are dying for Reggie Bush to live up to the hype, but it looks like the coaching staff is starting to see that it’s not going to happen. A very prominent feature of the Saints offense in 2006 was the swing pass to Reggie, ostensibly to get him in space so he could create. In reality, all it did was get Reggie started going sideways, his favorite direction. This season, that play has been mostly absent, and fans’ blood pressure is lower as a result.
Pierre Thomas: Everyone likes an undrafted rookie, don’t they? Thomas ran wild in the preseason and was a surprise addition to the roster at the close of camp. The Saints cut fourth-round pick Antonio Pittman to make room for Thomas and haven’t regretted it, as Thomas has gotten onto the field both on special teams (with a touchdown, no less) and as an occasional change-of-pace back.
The vastly improved defense: Well … a fan can wish.
I'm not sure if the part about the coaches souring on Reggie Bush's potential is quite accurate, but the rest is pretty spot on. The Saints need another receiver to step up and consistently make plays opposite Colston. Now that the line issues seem ironed out, this is the most obvious possible improvement. It may even be time for Robert Meachem to take off the diaper.