I've finally put last weeks pitiful performance behind me by drinking myself into an oblivion blocking it from my memory. It's time we all move on, hope the team has learned some lessons and pray we get a better showing against the Bungles. The Bengals, much like the Saints, have a suspect defense and a high power offense, making this a good team to play in pre-season and work out those defensive kinks. Here's what I think we should all be watching as the game unfolds on Saturday night.
Shockey I figured everyone was expecting me to talk about JD and the secondary first but I decided to kick it off with a positive note. We're finally going to get to see Russell Crowe, er, I mean Jeremy Shockey. Expect Brees to look for Shockey in the redzone or on third and long. Payton, who has been pretty cautious with J. Shock up to this point said he only plans to play him the first quarter. Then again Reggie begged and pleaded his way onto the field last week after being listed as a no go, and with Shockey's verbose nature and intense competitive nature coming as no surprise, maybe he will make Payton play the entire half.
Mike McKenzie Isn't this exciting!? We have two players making their debut's this season, and I think its safe to say "Thank God!" I will never be happier to see MM take the field than I will be tomorrow night. The timing couldn't be better. Honestly, after suffering the same injury as Deuce only two months after him, I can't believe he is actually ready to go. I'm pretty nervous about this one. Just like Deuce last week, we will have to see if he can make the necessary movements and cuts. Cornerback is not one of those positions where you can hide a serious knee injury. If MM and JD both look bad then I think it might be time to start panicking. Hey, anyone know if the Eagles have a cornerback we might be able to use!?
Jason David Now it's time to talk about the Toast Master General himself (thanks BigTMill), Chasin' David. I'm being harsh and I don't hate JD. Yet. This is it. This is the last chance I am giving him. I have probably actually been more patient than most of you guys, but this is my final stand. He needs to step it up, Big time. I'm talking, like, a pick six. He better be within one foot of his receiver at all times.
Tracy Porter Thanks to JD's performance last week, Tracy Porter has gotten the call. Usama Young also probably won't go tomorrow night, so this is Porter's big chance and I have to think he realizes it. He didn't look much better than David against Houston so I am definitely focusing on #22 this week in the hopes that we see the makings of a legitimate candidate for starting cornerback.
The O-Line Can we please open up some holes. I am referring to the first team line here. Reggie Bush is a Heisman winner not Moses. I know Reggie has been knocked the last two years because of his hesitation, "dancing" and failure to run between the tackles but the dancing and hesitation both seem to have improved and any inability of him breaking off big runs up the middle so far this season I think has to be blamed purely on our line. The second string guys have looked great opening up lanes for Stecker.
Jonathan Vilma I would rate Vilma's play last week as just mediocre. He gets a pass however because of such high expectations and being away from the game for so long. With one game under his belt and little bit of the rust off, I am hoping to see Vilma make some "Oh no he didn't" type plays that amaze and excite us all. Simoneau is out so this is Vilma's chance to firmly entrench himself at the position and do what Brian Simmons couldn't last year; knock Simoneau out of his spot.
Devery Henderson He's a first teamer. You heard it yourself from coach. Meachem, Moore, Copper and Arrington are all below him looking up. If the speculation by many Saints fans that Payton may be posturing and shopping Devery is true, then I would think he might give him a lot of looks and pray to the football gods that he actually catches the ball. Of course, if that were to actually happen, wouldn't we then want to keep him? This whole situation gives me a headache. I'm not going to pretend like I know what is going on inside Sean Payton's head.
Lance Moore This might actually be where the answer to the whole Devery situation lays. His play could greatly affect the future of Devery; cut, trade, whatever!
Deuce I don't expect the man to work miracles. Just a little improvement on top of last week or continued positive signs from D-Mac will be sufficient. He can wait until week one before he starts running people over. Limping off the field would be bad.
Skyler Green Skyler was MIA last week but Payton has said that he, as well as Moore and Porter, will see significant action in the return game. He's going to have to make his mark somewhere tomorrow night and it doesn't seem like he is really in the running for a WR spot. Otherwise, this could be the end of the road for our local boy.
Orien Harris This guy has set the bar pretty high for himself with his play the first two games of the season. Granted, with the starters playing the entire first half of the game this time around, he won't have as much time to make his impact, don't be surprised to see him right at the top of the tackles list.
All of the DT's With Hollis out, Young looking like someone has put some awful voodoo curse on him and his little dog too and Sedrick being held out for precautionary measures, the door is open for Clancy, Lake and the aforementioned Harris.
Taylor Mehlhaff Gramatica took all of the field goals last game so the next game should be Mehlhaff's turn. I love the hang time this kid gets on his kickoffs. This position battle is tough, I really don't know how Payton is going to decide.
Lance "in my pants" Schulters Poor Lance. His debut is being overshadowed by Shockey's. I honestly don't know much about this guy and I won't pretend that I do. I am just going to hope that he is better than Josh Bullocks. In reality, he's probably a long shot.
Keith Rivers Just for fun, we should all pay attention to him. He was a real possibility to be drafted by the Saints and was actually the guy I thought they would go with. Of course I didn't think they would actually be so aggressive as to move up in the draft. This will be a good chance to check out what we did or didn't miss out on, hopefully the later.