Having summarily dispatched the (aww gee we weren’t ready says Aaron) Packers, covered nicely by Claude a couple of days ago, we’ll take a quick look back with some final thoughts that we believe will have future relevance, and then deal with Carolina.
I am always careful to look out for pandering (not that kind), and one thing that stuck in my craw about Sunday’s telecast was the Fox production “ain’t that a shame” bits about Hurricane Ida, and their visuals were…. some ripped-down awnings in the French Quarter. JFCIAGCB, how about the astonishing devastation to the lives and property of our fans in Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Charles and lower Jefferson Parishes?
Would it have been all that hard to buy some cheap drone footage of Grand Isle? Or borrow some B-roll shots from the local Fox affiliate in the Gulf parishes?
My sense is the NFL doesn’t want a lot of negative thoughts, and showing reality never crossed anyone’s mind on production team. If it ain’t the Pathos of Katrina, give it a quick nod and move on, we have ads to sell to people who don’t otherwise want any negative thoughts during an NFL broadcast.
Pathetic. But back to football.
I am going to catch hell for this if I end up re-hexing us, but for the last couple of years, and again on Sunday, our secondary is no longer the no-catching-motherfuckers of yore.
Few things come back to haunt a defense like a dropped interception. It should be counted as a turnover. Two of my best long-time friends, whether they live 10 or 1,000 miles away, call each other every time a Saints DB drops an easy INT.
Rookie CB Paulson Adebo and FS Marcus Williams both made nice picks on Sunday, creating a swing of either 14or 21 points, depending on how you extrapolate.
Dear god let us not drop one on Sunday.
Speaking of the secondary, although there is a LOT of faith in Adebo, early in the game, to avoid making it easy for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to pick on a rook in his first start, there was some early pre-snap switching of Adebo and the relevant slot corner to make it harder for Rodgers to target him. Honestly, as well as Adebo played, it wouldn’t have mattered. If you have a chance to get some money down on Adebo as DROY, do it now.
Apologies for the obsession with the secondary but stay with me.
During the preseason, other than when the (I REFUSE to use the word “camp bodies”) guys who were unlikely to make the team were playing, it sure seemed that when we were on defense…. nobody was open. Just a sense, a low-level bass rumble.
Against the Packers, NOBODY WAS OPEN. In three-plus quarters the league’s MVP QB completed exactly two passes over 15 yards, both of which were miracle catches by guys who were wearing their defensive back like a ******* tea cozy (look it up on eBay).
Meanwhile, our secondary DID have three penalties, two of which extended drives. But what of it? As we’ve documented in many GSEZ posts in the last 2-3 years (talk about Demosthenes shouting at the waves), we always get flagged a lot, although the real issue is that our receivers don’t get anything.
But why is no one open?
Remember, we have a new secondary coach, Kris Richard. The guy who coached the Legion of Boom in Seattle, was scapegoated three years later, moved to Dallas and then was foolishly swept out by Dallas HC Mike McCarthy in his new regime.
Aaron Glenn, Richard’s immediate predecessor as Saints secondary coach, is well-regarded and is now deservedly (dubiously given the nature of the opportunity) the DC in Detroit. But something feels…. different.
Back when Richard was coaching the Seattle secondary, they were sort of famous for beating the hell out of the receivers, before or after the pass, and they got flagged a lot but got away with even more. Sort of what the Detroit Pistons were in the NBA late 80s/early 90s. We all hated it, but it worked, because the respective then-commissioners liked the vibe. Whatever.
I don’t know how much of it to ascribe to coaching, Marcus Williams’s increasing maturity, lucking into drafting Adebo but…. boy, that secondary was suffocating on Sunday. And the number of secondary penalties in the “they can’t call them all” theory should bear watching over the season. It’s way to early to tell, or try to draw a parallel, but let’s see.
Christ, they already call us for way too many secondary penalties, we may as well get something out of it.
On to Carolina. If we don’t kill these *************, I’m going to be pissed.
Carolina started out on a bizarre 3-2 in 2020, and promptly went 2-9 the rest of the way and finished 5-11. In 2020, the New York Jets, went…. 2-14.
In the 2021 season opener last Sunday, Carolina, at home, beat the Jets, 19-14.
Now, remember, in the offseason, the Panthers decided their new QB was Sam Darnold, who was 35th in passer rating and 33rd in QBR the previous season with…. the Jets, who went 2-14. FWIW, before you blame the Jets, in 2019 pre-COVID, Darnold has 13 starts, the Jets went 7-6, and Darnold was….27th in passer rating and 27th in QBR. It’s the best he ever did in the NFL. Let’s just say he wasn’t exactly carrying the ballclub.
Yes, we’re missing some players we’d like to have.
Yes, the team is tired of living in a big hotel and playing road games, and that “us against the world” shit runs out after a while.
Yes, I know we lost in week 2 after Katrina.
Look, Sam Darnold sucked before. He sucks now. He’s always going to suck. This will not be one of those “rookies out of nowhere always kill our defense games,” because those days are over. They are playing Sam Darnold because they didn’t want to pay Teddy Bridgewater. On Sunday, he’s going to be a staked goat on a game farm in Kenya.
The Panthers have one quality offensive player, Christian McCaffery. Nice guy. Good player, titch overrated. He’s played five real games against the Saints (six career, but one was an irrelevant season-ender). Total stats were 56 carries for 175 yards (11 carries/35 yards pg) and 38 catches for 342 yards (8 catches/ 68 yards pg). He got 30 touches last Sunday and at that rate they will kill him faster than we killed Dalton Hilliard in 19189. McCaffery’s not moving the needle on Sunday.
REALLY trying not to get overconfident over here. But, as they say, defense travels. Even if this defense is a little tired and banged-up, there’s still way enough desire and talent to curb-stomp these guys. And we will.
Enjoy the game and we’ll see you next week.