The first preseason game is over, and following two days of joint practices, the Saints will play the Patriots tomorrow in Foxborough at 7:30 pm in one of six games being played that night.
But before we move on, we must reach back one final time to delve into deep analysis of how my Hot Reads played out in the Cardinals game.
It will commence after the jump...
PRIMARY OPTION - PROTECT BREES
What I'd Like To See: Strong and penalty-free protection of Drew Brees for his brief appearance in the game, and for Chase Daniel and Luke McCown, too, I guess. May Grubbs and DLP and the whole unit function as a cohesive whole to achieve this goal, as if they've played together for years.
What I Saw: Four QB hits and two sacks on the bottom line of the defensive tackle chart for the Cardinals. The two sacks were on Daniel, and on at least the first one, Chase held on to the ball for too damn long. The only O-line penalty came on a false start with less than two minutes to go in the fourth quarter. I'd say that's a pretty good showing for the first game as a whole, although I wasn't really aware of how DLP and Ben Grubbs did individually. I also blew it on Sean Canfield getting the mop-up of the mop-up duty over Luke McCown, so I'm just going to give myself partial credit for this one - Hot Read: partially achieved.
CHECKDOWN # 1 - TAKING A 2ND LOOK AT THE 2ND STRING OF THE SECONDARY
What I'd Like To See: The newly-anointed starters in the game for the most part to be in position and playing smartly, tackling cleanly, and maybe even knocking down or picking off a pass or two.
What I Saw: Johnny Patrick notched a tackle, while his partner on the other side, Marquis Johnson, also notched but one tackle on the night. I'm not sure how long they played, but I don't recall chucking my hat at the TV in disgust after seeing big play after big play given up in the passing game, so that's something, I guess. This Hot Read will demand further (and better) scrutiny in future games. Hot Read: partially achieved.
CHECKDOWN # 2 - SPAGNUOLO'S SCHEME-CHANGE
What I'd Like To See: Flashes of potential in each of those areas of the defense at different times of the game. Good surge from the line creating some pressure, players in position to make crisp tackles to prevent big plays, and a little bit of space-eating stoppability from new DT Brodrick Bunkley.
What I Saw: Three sacks, two INTs, and decent pressure (seven QB hits) on those bad Arizona QBs during the game. I forgot to hone in on Bunkley, so I'm not sure what he did in the game other than get a hit on a QB once. They did give up only 10 points, but they did give up up some intermediately-long plays that were a bit frustrating to see. Hot Read: partially achieved.
SAFETY VALVE (I called it Checkdown #3 on Sunday - oops) - TRIUMPHANT RETURN OF THE FAT PUNK KICKER
What I'd Like To See: Two or three field goal attempts for FPK, from short and long distance, including a rushed kick at the end of the half, with perfection on all of those kicks.
What I saw: 0 FG attempts for the FPK, but he was 2 for 2 on XPs, so he was some kind of perfect. I was totally thrown by the whole sharing the kicking duties thing - did not see that coming at all. Going to have to call it a Fail on this Hot Read.
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So that's it for this week's review. And 1.5 (out of 4) success rate on the Hot Reads added up to a win. That's what vanilla game plans and lots of backups getting quality minutes will do for you. Thank you, preseason football!!
What do you think of my assessments? Did you notice anything I didn't? Disagree with something I said I saw? Please share in the comment section. Thanks!
It felt good to kick the rust off my tires this week, see where I need to improve, and the next edition will be better as I settle into the groove again. I'll see y'all again on Thursday morning with my Hot Reads for the Pats game, and then you can look for the review of those over the weekend.