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The Saints Are Not a Bad Team: Just Not Good Enough

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I know a 2-4 record tells the truth about our team, but there is hope.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints
There are a few things still good in New Orleans
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Most of us didn’t really expect too much from the team this year. We only hoped to make the playoffs and then anything can happen, right? But so far the Saints are JNGE, just not good enough. The good news is winning the division is still very possible. Atlanta may be starting their season meltdown, Tampa is up and down, and Carolina is truly suffering a Super Bowl hangover. The bad news is you will have to win the division to make the playoffs. Can’t see any wildcard teams coming out of the NFC South this year.

Man, if only. If only we had this offense in the ‘80s. If only this defense played by ‘70s rules. Yep, I said that. Our secondary wouldn’t have looked so bad in the ‘70s. Those guys got away with true pass interference. It was a required talent back then. Just think, if none of those PI calls had happened we’d probably be 5-1 at worst. With this offense in the ‘80s, there's no telling how many Super Bowl wins we’d have. Enough dreaming.

Let’s take a hard look at this year’s team. It seems as if when the D steps up the O fails right? Maybe that is not quite correct. Let's take a look at the season thus far. The Saints defense has been terrible right out the gate you could say. Can’t quite get behind that thought. The defense gave up 319 passing yards against the Raiders with just one TD. That is not too bad. And they gave up 167 rush yards. I think that was fairly good for a young defense who lost Delvin Breaux in the game. They did give up 22 points in the 4th quarter. That sucked. If it’s that bad, what does it say about the Raiders. They gave up 423 yards and 4 TDs to Drew Brees and 84 rush yards. The O scared the Raiders head coach so much he gambled it all on a 2 point conversion rather than run the risk of facing our offense in overtime. JNGE

Next came the Giants at Met Life. With rookies and anyone healthy enough we could use at CB, we gave up 368 passing yards to Eli Manning. Yep. Archie’s other son. We limited the Giants to only 49 rushing yards, so that skewed the passing numbers a little. The telling factor is we only gave up 16 points. So our offense failed right. Maybe the Giants D is just that good. The most they have given up is 29 points this season to division rival Washington Redskins. JNGE

Then the Falcons come home to our place. Our porous secondary cost this one you might think, but you would be wrong. We actually held Matt Ryan to only 240 yards passing and 2 TDs. It was the 234 rush yards, numerous FGs an 3 TDs that sucked in that game. And the O led by Mr. Brees, who threw a costly pick 6, put up 474 total yards and 32 points with 372 of those passing and 98 rushing. The Falcons defense is pretty bad as well. And 32 points in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. JNGE

And then comes that unbelievable first win against the Chargers. Really folks, we should have been JNGE, with fails on both sides of the ball, yet we still pulled if off. You can say the Chargers lost this one but it was the last minutes turnovers from our defense who won that game. Despite the exciting ending we were pretty bad all around. Phillip Rivers threw for 321 yards and 2 TDs with 1 INT. Drew threw for for only 207 yards and 2 TDs with 2 INTs. We did only allow 25 rush yards from San Diego. In turn we only ran for 68 yards.

The Saints had a much-needed bye in Week 4 and went on to face the Panthers Week 5. The offense put up 41 points in that one and need every last one of them. Our defense allowed 38 points, 322 pass yards and only 84 rush yards. Perhaps Cam Newton coming back from concussion protocols had something to do with it or perhaps the opportunities just weren’t there. Regardless we held up pretty good against a run first offense. Once again we ran for a lowly 58 yards.

At the Chiefs we had one of those typical shoot yourself in the foot games. The defense actually played fairly well for the most part. A costly personal foul penalty by Nick Fairley cost us that one at the end of the game. No, I’m not letting Mark Ingram off the hook. Without that fumble in the red zone this game would have turn out differently as well. Our defense held the Chiefs’ Alex Smith to 214 yards and 2 TDs. We did allow 112 rush yards. Still that wasn’t too bad or out of the ordinary. Drew threw for 367 yards, 3 TDs and one pick. Our running game almost broke a hundred with 96 yards. Once again JNGE.

I know many are disappointed and frustrated with this team, but maybe we should just calm the bleep down. I could blame our defensive woes on injuries, but I think the youth movement has much to do with it. Players are starting to develop in my opinion so there is still hope. We are starting to get some pressure on QBs, and slowly players are returning to health. Will we every see Dannell Ellerbe and for how many healthy games, I won’t even hazard a guess. Delvin Breaux is probably just about ready to return, if not this week then maybe next. I really love the 3 safety sets and hope we utilize them more going forward.

Injuries have also hampered us on offense. You might not think so, but a large part of our lack of a rush game is due to needing to support the O-line with the running backs. Well, and coach too. Our Screen game has been almost none existent, partially due to our O-line. The good news is they have been much better than I hoped before the season began. The youth movement has also begun with the offense, and they too are experiencing growing pains. Having quality offensive threats is just helping them grow a little faster. Rookie Mike Thomas is lighting it up and until injured, Andrus Peat was finally starting to look like the draft pick we all hoped for. Bringing Jahri Evans back, (at the right price), was a great move and he has held up pretty good so far.

So this Saints team really isn’t that bad. Just not good enough. So far. We’ll just have to see what happens for the rest of the season. I really have high hopes for 2017 with what I’ve seen to date. I’m sure some will disagree with me, perhaps many will, so discuss in the comments.