The New Orleans Saints fell to 1-1 after a disappointing performance against the Las Vegas Raiders in which they lost 34-24. There are plenty of takeaways to cover that range from quarterback Drew Brees’s performance, to the mysterious case of the disappearance of the defense, and of course, those incredibly pesky penalties that seem to always have the Saints name on them.
However, before we dive in, I would just like to caveat this entire article with saying that is only Week 2. The sky isn’t falling (yet) and Sean Payton offenses take a long time to get going, New Orleans rarely has good Septembers. Yet, there are plenty of issues to fix. Let’s get to it:
Drew Brees Looked Exactly Like a 41-year Old Trying to Play in the NFL
Questions about Brees’s viability and age have arisen in the last two weeks. While his Week 1 performance was far from what we have come to expect, it wasn’t “bad.” However, his Week 2 performance was BAD. While his 68.4% completion rate, 312 yards and 1 touchdown don’t look bad on the surface, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Brees was uncharacteristically inaccurate, especially when attempting anything downfield. A lot of this can be chalked up to players getting used to a complicated offense with little preseason work, especially new players like Emmanuel Sanders, as well as the loss of the best wide receiver in the game in Michael Thomas. The accuracy issues could be a byproduct of Brees’s own success and what we have considered a norm for him in the last three years. But what is hard to explain is his decision making. This will be be something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.
Nearly Every Defensive Player Disappeared on Monday Night
Let’s start with saying this: players like Trey Hendrickson and Demario Davis are excluded from this disappearance mystery as they either excelled or met expectations. However, key players like cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins, safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Cameron Jordan costed New Orleans.
The Saints have had a vaunted defense the last two seasons and hopes of a top five defense were in the air ahead of the season. While that could still be in the cards, the inability to stop Raiders tight end Darren Waller, while also getting stumped by a toothless Las Vegas offensive line, does not bode well for that goal.
In order to right the ship Malcolm Jenkins needs to find the form he was in while playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. Janoris Jenkins needs to play like a veteran and not have mental lapses like he did with a defensive pass interference penalty late in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Lattimore and Jordan need to prove their performances were a one-off, which they likely were.
The Saints Penalty Woes Have Followed Them to 2020
129 yards on 10 penalties. That is what New Orleans gave up on Monday. Many were deserved, some were tick-tacky, but the one that stands out is the penalty that set Las Vegas up for a final field goal to put victory out of reach for the Saints. That DPI was already mentioned above, but for a veteran like Jenkins, that should have never occurred, especially since there was little chance Henry Ruggs III had a chance to make the play.
The Saints now sit firmly atop the league in penalty yards through Week 2 at 248 yards, with the Arizona Cardinals sitting in a distant second with just 199 yards. I don’t buy the conspiracy theories of how the NFL is out to get the Saints. Anyone watching can see just how sloppy the team has been playing and by prescribing to conspiracies it shifts the blame from the team to an arbitrary being.
Bottom line, this team needs to play better on all fronts. Luckily, it was just Week 2. Don’t count them out.
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.