Usually I give my takeaways after each game the New Orleans Saints partake in. While I know each of you love hearing me ramble on, I thought it would be great to give you an inside look at to what the CSC Staff group chat looks like after a game. With this exercise each staff member gave their biggest takeaways and none held back! Let’s get to it:
Jake Rajala: “Trey Hendrickson might be the most valuable d-lineman. As good as Cameron Jordan is all around, it would be tough to imagine this pass defense without one good pass rusher right now.”
Madeleine Hudak: “The offense is going to go back to square one if they don’t have a suitable replacement for Ryan Ramcyzk. He’s currently the most important player for Drew Brees’ success, that was just painfully obvious, and they traded up with Cesar Ruiz for Andrus Peat but there’s just no feasible comparison for Ram.”
Ross Jackson: “My takeaways is that it’s good to see Brees building chemistry with other wide receivers with Thomas out. That can only help the team once Michael Thomas returns and eventually Jared Cook as well. Should help the offense avoid the rhythm they’ve fallen into late these last two seasons.”
MH: “I agree Ross though great take, to me Sunday’s game made it clear that they weren’t bad on offense because they were missing Thomas, and he wasn’t going to fix it if he came back and Brees didn’t have any growth with anyone else, quite frankly his absence may have helped the chemistry issue.”
Christopher Dunnells: “My takeaway: The Saints were smart in bringing back Patrick Robinson and building depth on the defensive side of the ball.”
Kevin Skiver: “My takeaway is that losing Thomas has hurt Sean Payton’s scripted plays more than anything, but Payton is starting to learn to adapt on the fly without his most potent offensive weapon. My other takeaway is that even though Alvin Kamara is the best all-around back in the league, Murray is equally important to keeping defenses on the field.”
Andrew Bell: “I’d say my big takeaway is that this Saints team responds to adversity really well and has proven it over the past three years, including this game. As far as football-specific, I’d say this offensive performance was encouraging in that Brees still has the Hall of Fame game mode switch in him when he needs to turn it on (when his team is down 14-0 in the first quarter) but also I’m holding back just a smidge because the Lions defense is pretty bad and predictable.”
MH: “What Chris said about P Rob is really hammering it in for me that Marshon Lattimore is currently the biggest bust of the 2017 NFL Draft and quite frankly this is turning quickly into a “make or break” year for me with him if he can’t show up when he’s not guarding a headline name, especially when Brees has consistently broken every record possible throwing to undrafted random receivers.”
RJ: “They have also never thrown a touchdown to an offensive lineman and I’m gonna keep beating that horse until they do.”
Chad LeBlanc: “My take away is pretty much the same thing I said in last week’s final injury report. Thomas being out is a good thing because it is forcing Brees to develop the other receivers. Brees developed tunnel vision with Jimmy Graham and that was why I didn’t want to sign him to a big contract. I was all in on letting him go or trading him that year. They wound up signing Graham to a big contract then trading him. Everyone said I was crazy at the time but it turned things around for the team and Brees.”
Now, as far as my takeaways go, it is pretty similar to what my peers noticed. First, I was incredibly impressed with the resiliency this team showed on Sunday while being down 14-0 in the first quarter. This season has been tough and it would have been easy for the team to roll over. But, as Andrew mentioned, this has been a different, more gritty team since the infamous Minneapolis Miracle. This team as it stands has the inability to give up. That was on display.
Secondly, it was great to see Brees back to looking efficient and at times, explosive. The 41-year-old put to rest some of the murmurs that were rising over the last three weeks about his age finally catching up to him. He will need to string together performances like this week to week, but he proved he can do it with receivers not named Michael Thomas.
Finally, as Kevin mentioned, Payton had much better playcalling against the Lions than he did the previous three weeks. Just as Brees has become reliant on Thomas, so too has Payton. I was critical of Payton last week in my takeaways, and who knows, maybe he read it (we can all wish)? But, this week he came with a more creative gameplan, had Brees throw it downfield, and ran the ball effectively. He should keep doing this even when Thomas gets back.
What are your biggest takeaways? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @KadeKistner.