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Saints-Panthers: Five Big Things from Saints' 22-27 Loss

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The New Orleans Saints are still winless at 0-3, after their 22-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers. There were a lot of positives for a game in which Drew Brees did not suit up. Alas, there were also some ugly things. Let's talk about it.

Game of inches
Game of inches
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1) Luke McCown Isn't Terrible

In his first NFL start since 2011, Luke McCown acquitted himself fairly well today. "Mister Verizon" had quite the performance, throwing for over 300 yards against a very good Panthers defense and bringing the Saints on the brink of actually taking the lead in the game before a fateful interception on a deep endzone throw to Brandin Cooks. New Orleans is now 0-3 and McCown is likely going to start again next Sunday night in the Superdome against the Cowboys.

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2) Brandon Browner is Absolutely Terrible

One of New Orleans' big acquisitions of the offseason, Brandon Browner has been a shell of the player he was with the Seahawks and with the Pats. Maybe what the Saints are now realizing is that a player can hide within a given system, they saw that a few years ago with Jason David. Browner is getting exposed in New Orleans where he doesn't have the pieces around him that he had in Seattle and in Foxboro. This is now the second year in a row that the Saints give big money to a defensive back (Jairus "Bigfoot" Byrd) just to see him suck right out of the gate. Here's to hoping that Browner will not disappear next, the way Byrd did. Or maybe we should hope he does.

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3) The Running Game is Awful

We all knew that the Saints' offensive line would be a work in progress this season. When you replace your starting center and your starting left guard, you are going to need some time to gel. However, not only has the offensive line not gelled, when it comes to the running game, they have been horrendous. The Saints rushed for a combined 228 yards in the first three games of the season, that's 76 yards a game, but more putridly, 3.2 yards per carry. That's not bad, it's worse. Because of the anemic Saints running game, the Panthers were able to consistently rush only four and keep seven men in coverage, thus negating several opportunities for the Saints to extend drives via the passing game. If the Saints want to do anything this season, they'll have to address how bad their running game has been and maybe change who the lead runner is.

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4) Have You Seen Our Pass Rush?

If you see a cheap one on eBay or on Craigslist, please call the Saints' Metairie offices at 504-PAS-RUSH. Rumor has it that Jairus Byrd "borrowed" it when he left New Orleans in October last year. If you know something about Byrd's whereabouts, please call the Saints' offices as well. Thank you.

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5) Where You At, Zach?

Strief is the recipient of my "Where You At?" this week. After being abysmal against Tampa Bay last week, Strief had numerous false start penalties, and once again looked like the NFL is slowly but surely passing him by. With Andrus Peat not really developing like a 1th pick in the draft should, the Saints are stuck with Strief as the starting right tackle for at least the remainder of this season. However, the longtime right tackle is closer to the end of the rope and I wouldn't be surprised if this is his last season in New Orleans.

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Where are the Saints going now? At 0-3 and already three games behind the division leaders Panthers and Falcons, the playoffs are a pipe dream. Should they fight on and win four, six games? Wait...Why am I even asking? Of course, let's go win our four games, starting next Sunday night in the Superdome, where New Orleans is invincible...oh wait!