1. The QB battle should be open, but they should not make the switch just yet
The offense under Andy Dalton has averaged 31 points per game over his 4 starts, while the offense under Jameis Winston averaged just 17 points in his three starts. The interceptions Dalton threw on Thursday night were awful, but Jameis has also struggled for a while with the same issues. Simply put, the offense has looked better with Dalton at the helm this season, but if he keeps throwing interceptions like he did on Thursday then Jameis may need to step back into the starting role. I don’t think Dalton has done enough to lose his job yet, but Thursday was a giant leap in the wrong direction.
2. Rashid Shaheed should have a much bigger role in the offense
The undrafted rookie out of Weber State has scored literally every time he has touched the ball. After catching a 53-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter however, he didn’t even have another target all game. Shaheed is crazy fast and given his output on his two career touches the Saints should work to incorporate him into the offense more often. I’m not saying make him your WR1 or 2 or even 3, but he should be getting around 4-5 touches a game on end arounds, screens, or deep shot type plays that can take advantage of his speed. The New Orleans Saints should also seriously consider making Shaheed the starting kick returner as long as Deonte Harty is out given that Shaheed returned 7 kicks for touchdowns in his career at Weber State, making him the all-time leader in FCS history.
3. The defense is not even an average unit
Despite the increased scoring output on offense over the last four weeks, the defense has completely fallen apart as they are giving up 33 points per game since Week 3. To put that into perspective the 2012 team that gave up the most yards in a single season in NFL history allowed just 28.3 points per game (yes that’s the actual number). The defensive line has been a huge disappointment, as the entire defensive line outside of Cam Jordan has combined for just 3 sacks on the year. The DBs have been banged up, and Tyrann Mathieu just has not looked like the same player he did a year ago in Kansas City. The bright spots have been second year linebacker Pete Werner, who is fifth in the NFL in solo tackles, and second round pick Alontae Taylor who had a very good game against DeAndre Hopkins on Thursday. Demario Davis has not fallen off at all thankfully, and the leader of this defense is going to have to really get this unit playing at an elite level again if the Saints are going to rebound. Despite being 2-5, thanks to the Bucs rough stretch the Saints are still just a game back in the division and will visit Tampa Bay in six weeks. If they are able to keep pace until then they will have a chance, but for that to happen the defense is going to have to play MUCH better.
Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter at @HaydenReel.