OK, everyone. The time for lamenting is OVER. The Redskins beat the Saints last week, fair and square (well, if you don't count the referees' mistakes), and it's time now for the Saints and their fan base to administer an ass-whooping of epic proportions upon those poor, unsuspecting Camrolina Panters, who have visions of CNI pulling another R2D2 on the Saints.
Make the jump for my four-part, five-star, iron-clad, failure-is-not-an-option, down-and-dirty, easier-said-than-done recipe for this.
** I'll be racing to get the grass cut and the weeds pulled before the game starts, so I'm going to have to rely on each and every one of you to fire things up in this, the pre-pre-game Open Thread with talk of gameday gear (the Free Payton shirt I wore last week is staying in the drawer today), food, drink, and game-watching plans. And you can let me know what you think about the Hot Reads, too! **
Saints vs Panthers coverage
Drew Brees has $100 million dollar arms, legs, head, torso, hands, and feet, and for the Love of Benson(!), this investment must be protected. As we saw last week, if they can't PROTECT BREES, we've got nothing. The protection against the Redskins was absolutely pathetic. The o-line got pushed back, pass rushers were consistently in Breesus' face, pre-snap penalties killed some drives, and blitz pick-ups were missed routinely. Don't even get me started on the performance in the worst-named statistic in football, "batted balls" (aka passes defensed).
What I'd Like To See: The o-line actually doing their jobs. They have to give him time to throw, clear passing lanes to utilize, and a clean pocket. And when the extra blitzers come, folks must rotate into position to keep the barbarians at the gate.
Checkdown # 1
You know what was harder to watch than Drew Brees getting pummeled all day? Seeing all the %^&* mental errors that added up to so much failure on the field. This week, I'm calling for each and every one of the Saints players to PULL THEIR HEADS OUT OF THEIR CLAVENS.
What I'd Like To See: If the ball hits you in the hands, catch it (that goes for both receivers and defensive backs). If you know the snap count, don't move until it's reached (Zach Strief, I'm looking at you). If you are the 12th man on the field, please sprint until you get all the way out of bounds. If you are a referee, get the calls right. Let's make it easy, why don't we? Players, just get your heads back in the game and reduce these infuriating mental errors so that they don't cost the Saints the game.
Checkdown # 2
There has been quite a kerfluffle this week about the Saints running game, or lack thereof, against the Redskins. Was it a mistake to give up on the run? Is relative run-pass balance necessarily necessary? I have to admit that at this point, I've been a bit busy and I haven't read
all any of these arguments, just the headlines. But here's what I have to say about all that, and I will share it in statistical prose: in the 2011 regular season, the Saints were 12-0 when rushing over 100 yards and only 1-3 when rushing for under 100 yards. Including the playoffs, the numbers move to 13-0 and 1-4, respectively. So what does all that mean, Herm Edwards? YOU PLAY TO RUN THE BALL
What I'd Like To See: I don't give a flip how or when it appears during the course of the game, but just establish enough of a running game by the final whistle to make a positive flipping difference in this flipping ball game, for flip's sake. I'm going to stick with last year's Mendoza Line - just crack that 100-yard rushing mark, boys, and let's see what that gets you.
With the new-look Saints defense involving more use of zone, the expectation was that more takeaways would result from the defensive ballhawks having their eyes on the ball. How's that working out so far? The Saints sit at a -3 turnover ratio, having given the ball away to the Redskins three times (2 INTs, 1 fumble) and having taken it away from the Redskins only ZERO times. If this continues, I'm going to have to ask CALGON to TAKE ME AWAY FROM IT ALL.
What I'd Like To See: The Saints really need to clean this up, and get it to at least even for the game. They had some chances last Sunday: P-Rob had a pick right in his mitts but couldn't hold on, and the Redskins actually fumbled three times (Will Herring was the forcer of one), but Washington "own-recovered" each of them. Find that ball, boys. Knock it out, and then pounce on it, and hang onto it, too (at least as many times as they do it to you).
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So, as dawn breaks on a new Sunday, Week 2 awaits our team. Let's hope we break dawn all over the Panters later on today.