Well, here we are Monday as the New Orleans Saints sit at a 1-2 record after losing to the Green Bay Packers 37-30 on Sunday Night Football. Nearly every take away we had from last week’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders was once again on full display. It begs the question if head coach Sean Payton is becoming too rigid on his playcalling or if he is truly utilizing the strengths of his team.
Equally as disturbing is if whether or not the Saints are the team we thought they were entering the season. One thing is for sure, this is not the same caliber of team that took the field from 2017-2019. Alright, here are some overreactions from Sunday’s game.
In Order for the Offense to Succeed Jameis Winston Needs a Shot
As a life-long Drew Brees apologetic this one kills me to think about. Despite the box score of 288 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, Brees is not looking as lethal as he has in past seasons. One could argue Father Time is starting to exact his toll on the 41-year old. Brees took exactly zero shots downfield of 20+ yards against the Packers and took only one against the Raiders.
Even for Drew Brees this is insane. After attempting only two passes 20-plus yards downfield in Week 1, he attempted just one in Week 2.— Jeff Nowak (@Jeff_Nowak) September 28, 2020
Tonight vs. Packers: ZERO
You can't criticize his arm strength if he doesn't show it. And that's honestly the biggest problem. #Saints pic.twitter.com/kRqGM32Sr2
He seems gun shy on taking the shots down field and despite the multiple instances on Sunday night when receivers were open he would opt for the check down. If Brees isn’t willing to do what a quarterback is expected to do i.e. throw the ball downfield, then maybe the team needs to think about its next step. Enter Jameis Winston.
I’m not advocating for a total removal of Brees from the gameplan, his understanding of the game is far too valuable for that. But, sprinkling in Winston, similar to how Taysom Hill is, could ignite a spark for an offense desperately needing one. At 1-2, New Orleans has four games ahead of them against lower tier teams and winning them all is a must. It is also a perfect opportunity to give Winston his shot.
Extending Marshon Lattimore is No Longer a Priority
There will be plenty who say “but, remember when he plays Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans?” Lattimore has always had his ups and downs since joining the team. The cornerback is able to rise to occasion in some of the biggest moments, but is also quick to disappear and make mental mistakes in scenarios where he is expected to perform.
Lattimore kept Evans in check in Week 1, but against both the Raiders and Packers he was tasked with covering both team’s WR2. Last night Packers receiver Davante Adams was ruled out which meant Lattimore drew Allen Lazard. Unexpectedly, Lazard absolutely torched Lattimore for 146 yards and a touchdown. Another week into the season and another let down by what was supposed to be a lock down corner.
Plenty of players are on the docket for an extension. The team will have to prioritize who to give money to, and not everyone will get their due. Lattimore seemed like one of the players that was a ’must’ in getting an extension. However, his lackluster performance this season has bordered on being a liability. Unless a marked improvement occurs in the next few weeks, the team needs to pass on giving Lattimore an extension.
New Orleans Won’t Win Nine Games This Year if the Penalties Don’t Stop
Let’s be clear, this team’s penalty woes is one of the single biggest factors in holding this squad back from winning games. We can talk all day about Brees, the defense, Cam Jordan, or missing Michael Thomas, but it’s the penalties.
This season has seen New Orleans tagged with 25 penalties for 336 yards. These mistakes mean the team is undisciplined, extends opponent’s drives and makes the offense’s job that much harder. Heading into the season I pegged this team as a 14-2 or 13-3 type of crew. We are already at the “2” portion of that prediction and it all goes back to penalties. It is what gave the Raiders extra life lines in Week 2. It is what kept the Saints from truly competing against the Packers and helped in keeping Aaron Rodgers on the field.
If the penalties continue at this alarming pace, while also looking at the schedule, I don’t see how New Orleans could win more than nine games. Depending on how the rest of the NFC shakes out, that may not be enough to even make the playoffs in a Wild Card spot.
What are your overreactions? 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.