The New Orleans Saints go into week three with a 1-1 record, as they prepare to fly to Carolina. That record could be 2-0 or 0-2, so let’s analyze the small sample size.
The defense is still elite and has been without CB2 (Adebo) who any week should be back now, possibly this Sunday against Carolina.
New Orleans’ had the longest active streak in the NFL without allowing a 100-yard rusher broken in week one against Atlanta. The Saints’ run defense returned to normal against Tampa, allowing just 72 yards on 30 carries - Couldn’t ask for a better performance.
“We made the corrections we needed to make.” said HC Dennis Allen.
The only critique towards this defense throughout the first two games is the lack of sacks (1). However, this shouldn’t be a testament to the pass rush but more so a testament to the opposing teams’ scheme.
“I don’t see it as an issue,” Allen said. “They (Tampa) were 5/17 on third down. So, although we’d love to have a ton of sacks, the ultimate goal is to get off the field and get the ball back for your offense and I thought overall we did a pretty good job of that.”
WHAT’S NOT WORKING
The offense hasn’t looked like half of the offense we expected to see but there’s no reason to panic. Turnovers and the inability to sustain drives has been an issue.
OC Pete Carmichael also could use a bit of critique. This offense doesn’t have an identity yet - Doesn’t seem to know if we want an air-raid attack, balanced attack or run-first attack.
My two cents would be a pass-first attack, more towards the 60-65% range of play-calls being to pass. You don’t bring in Olave & Landry, + a healthy MT to limit their ceiling.
Jameis’ arm talent is as good as you’ll find. His three interceptions (the first to Olave in the endzone wasn’t on him if you ask me) should be an outlier for the rest of the year. He played with four fractures in his back and without the team’s best player, AK. When you analyze those two facts, I think fans should take the Tampa game (offensively) with a grain of salt.
New Orleans occasionally used the screen-game (whether with Kamara or tight ends) in the past and we’ve rarely seen that concept, if at all.
In the week one during the comeback against Atlanta, the team seemed to find something with spread/four-wideout sets. Something they shouldn’t even think about going away from.
Michael Thomas has looked great, and honestly hasn’t received the needed targets. He’s been open a bit more than we’ve gotten the ball to him and that’s with defenses still giving him the same respect he’s always gotten… and with Kamara back, teams can’t give Mike that same attention, it’s almost impossible.
They played a lot of zone coverage against Mike Thomas. He had a safety over the top to the outside and whenever he’d have an in-breaking route to the inside they’d try to cut it with a safety or the corner would play it if it was outside the numbers.— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) September 19, 2022
So, doubled. https://t.co/csmWFqm9o2
A team rarely commits five turnovers in a single game and wins. On top of that, going 4/13 on third down isn’t helping your chances of winning, especially against a Super Bowl contender like Tampa. That performance should be the worst performance we see from the Saints’ offense.
The offensive line looked significantly better in week two than they did week one. Jameis is getting healthier by the day, and AK/Adebo are both on the way. Mike and Olave should both get better with time, along with Pete Carmichael. It’s way too small of a sample size to worry about this offense, they will get it rolling when fully healthy.
With Carolina, Minnesota & Seattle up next… anything short of a 4-1 start would be somewhat alarming.
Saints travel to Carolina for a 12 pm start on Sunday.