Monday, September 27, 2010

Garrett Hartley not to blame

It appears some people I know have very short memories. Yes Garrett Hartley missed a field goal in over time but why were we even in that position in the first place?

Could it be that we couldn't run the ball yet again?
Could it be that we couldn't stop ANY third downs?
Could it be that we couldn't stop the run AGAIN?

There are all sorts of reasons why we lost. Chief amongst them is that we faced a real up and coming Falcons team led by a quality QB. Matt Ryan was poised and accurate throughout. Obviously it didn't help that on every 3rd down conversion it appeared that no one wanted to be anywhere near Tony Gonzalez and there's a story in itself.

You'd think that having all feasted off the NFL films eulogy to the Saints Super Bowl victory that someone on the D staff would have noted Coach Paytons' imploring rants of his D not to let their best player, Dallas Clark, win the game single handedly.

Well that's exactly what the Saints were facing against the Falcons and yet nobody seemed capable of getting close to the guy. Yes he's a future Hall of Famer but come on. Just cover him once and that's one possession handed back to Bree's.

Now let's also not forget the Falcons running game that once again showed the fact we cannot stop the run. It's an old story but one that we just don't seem capable of sorting.

All that said, and that looks like a rant against the Saints but... I also thought we played some good football!

The fact is we played tough throughout and almost pulled out a win against the odds. I like the way we are hanging in there throughout and showing spirit.

The Falcons never once looked to be running away with it (well apart from on the ground but we'll come back to that). Neither team could get absolute momentum and as such it was a real gritty old fashioned football match. And I for loved it for that. Hard hard football play.

The Saints clearly need to sort some issues out this week.

1. Find a way to open running holes for the backs. For the best O line in football you'd expect some holes could be opened but so far this season it's been pretty sparse.

2. Stop the run. Anyway any how. Just stop it. Shut it down in the middle.

3. Stop 3rd down conversions. Pressure would be good and coverage of the oppositions best receiver would help.

4. Don't get down on Garrett Hartley. Yes he shanked his kick but he converted one in normal time, took us to the Super Bowl, is young and looks mentally strong. Give him the benefit of the doubt and show him some support. If the first 3 issues were resolved we wouldn't even be mentioning his name.

5. Find some backup for the running backs. Pierre Thomas has too much of a load to carry. Chris Ivory is inexperienced and should not have been in on 4th down when he fumbled.

6. Make Devery Henderson do a thousand push ups anytime he drops the ball in practise (hell it worked for Wesley Snipes in the film Major League).

And finally.

7. Keep the faith. After all the years of dissappointment some parts of the Who Dat nation are showing clear signs of having it too good for too long. Remember the lean years and realise it ain't all bad.

Yes we've got to fix the above things but the team know that. We lost a tight game against a good good team so keep the faith. Drew Brees and co. will be working over time this week to sort things out so keep cheering, keep that dome noise up and believe in Coach Payton for there is no one, NO ONE, I would rather have calling the plays.

In Sean we trust.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saints win the hard way in San Fran

Man I hate the 49ers. Always have always will... It's just been a while so I forgot how much!

It was like watching those old games off youth when the Saints would be in the game and then cool hand Joe would march his team down the field and snatch a win.

Well luckily for the Saints we now have a great team who stick together in tough road conditions whilst the 49ers find new ways to implode. I for one love that fact and want to take my hat off to the 49ers center for that opening snap that cost them the game.

Mike Singletary demon eyes

I sure am glad I was not in the 49er locker room after the game as some of their players literally handed the Saints keys to stay in the game at times.

What was it, 3 turnovers when they'd marched to the Saints red zone? Jeez, that is the kind of thing to make the iron man go purple with rage.

Now onto the Saints

I feared it at seasons start and now I'm worried even more. Loosing Mike Bell is going to hurt this team.

The diminuitive runner would have pounded out some hard yards in that second half to take the pressure off Pierre Thomas and give the 49ers more to think about. Instead it was left primarily to Pierre to fight for some small incremental yardage.

Clearly coach Payton didn't want to throw DeShawn Wynn into such a tough situation but the guy is going to have to get his game face on now with the loss of Reggie Bush.

Reggie Bush injured again

It pains me to see Reggie down and injured yet again especially after the week he had. The guy had his first healthy off season in a long while and looked sharp but once again lady luck has spoiled his season, a fact that could impact the Saints big time.

Without Bush we loose a lot of disguises that keep opponents on edge. It's going to result in a lot more blitz packages coming at Brees.

Drew Brees hurried too many times

Which brings me onto another concern. Brees was hurried far more times than was comfortable.

He is the undisputed leader of the team and to see him being put to the ground and under pressure so much was a concern. You could see it through the loss of his rythmn at times. Let's just hope that was a one off as our O line is made of better stuff.

The Positives

All that said there was a lot to take from the game. The team stuck together in true champion spirit coming into a hostile Monday night environment.

I thought the D played pretty well in large patches and did a great job at once again going after the ball. Vilma and Harper were once again excellent as was the entire secondary. I'd like to see more pressure from the line but they were facing a pretty good front five so let's wait and see how that front bears out in coming games.

Finally it was great to see the play of our special teams once again and especially the clutch kicks of Garrett Hartley. The young kicker held his nerve in tough circumstances to seal a Saints win and put paid to last weeks misses the only way a quality kicker can.

Great also to see some tighter defensive coverage on the return teams and a true all round effort from Courtney Roby. Oh and I best not forget Morstead as his booming kicks sure do go a long way to helping the D at times.

So in summary

A tough road win, hard fought against good opponents. The team has time now to reflect on where we were missing some connections ahead of the Falcons game. That sure is going to be a tough one but so long as our collective spirit holds true then we have a great shot.

In the meantime best wishes to Reggie. Fingers crossed for positive news in the coming days.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Roman Harper key to Vikings win

The Saints kicked off the season with a win against the Minnesota Vikings Thursday with some solid defensive play and the rousing backing of a sold out Super Dome. Following the coin toss Drew Brees led the Dome through the Who Dat chant which will now kick off every home appearance this season.

The game itself was a close run affair in this rematch of the NFC Championship game. After the Saints came out firing on their first drive with a Brees Henderson touchdown the O subsequently struggled to impose it's will in the half.

It was left to the D to keep the Vikes in check and they really did an impressive job. As ever Jonathan Vilma led the way directing his unit around the field to match the threats of Peterson and Favre.

Key to the units display were big time performances from Sedrick Ellis and Roman Harper. Ellis was able to fill the middle channels well and keep the Vikes famed running attack in check. The big man even ended up with a sack on Favre which was great to see.

Roman Harper was also imposing managing to pressure Favre as well as break up passes whilst chipping in with some crucial tackles. In the absence of Darren Sharper his leadership qualities in the secondary will be crucial and it was great to see him get off to a flying start.

Also of note was an improvement in the special teams return coverage. The unit looked to gang tackle on a number of occasions and if they can maintain such pressure this is one area the Saints could really benefit from.

So all in all a good start to the season against some tough opponents. Whilst it wasn't the kind of score we were all expecting it was a great team win all the same. If we can keep up that kind of effort on the D side of the ball we will be in great shape for another winning season.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drew Brees Saints Who Dat Chant for 2010 season

Drew Brees today announced the new Saints chant for the 2010 season...  It's the famous Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat say dey gonna beat 'dem Saints!!

The plan is for the Saints honorary captian of the day to follow the coin toss by walking out onto the field, raising his fist and then dropping it to start the whole Dome chanting in unison to the famous Saints song.  That is going to be one hell of a way to unite the whole Who Dat Nation and intimidate the opposition with a wall of noise... bring it on Saints!

Drew Brees Chant 2010 - Who Dat Press Conference

Brees said in the press conference "We as a team wanted to find a way to kind of engage our fans prior to the start of the game with some kind of interaction where we just get the Dome excited, electric.  We've got the best fans in the world.  We've got the loudest fans in the world.  Let's do something like this so that every opponent that comes in our stadium knows what's in store, and it just kind of sets the tone."

The Drew Brees 2010 pregame chant will now be a united Who Dat Nation chant.  Brees is set to kick it off in the game against the Vikings and in subsequent weeks the captaincy will rotate.  I for one cannot wait.

So the Saints 2010 chant will go (like you need to have the words confirmed but anyway):

Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat say dey gonna beat 'dem Saints,
Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat say dey gonna beat 'dem Saints,
Who Dat, Who Dat, Who Dat say dey gonna beat 'dem Saints
(Followed by mass hysteria cheering!!!!)

Bring it on New Orleans Saints Nation.  Last years Drew Brees chant was sensational, this years is going to take it to a whole other level with the full chorus of some 70,000 behind them.  Two Dat indeed!

Saints Vs Vikings opening day

It is almost upon us oh brethren. Yes indeed the New Orleans Saints are about to begin the defence of their Super Bowl crown right here in New Orleans and it is time to get excited.

Pretty much all the starting line up are back for another tilt at the title and all noises coming out of training camp are of a unified collective intent on Two Dat'in. Praise the Lord!

Up first are the NFC Championship game losing Minnesota Vikings... now remind me once again who beat dem? Ah yes if it ain't good ole Sean and the boys.

The Vikes will be hungry for revenge and with a D-line and the duel threat of Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre they will be tough cookies. If Williams can cook up anything like the gameplan he produced for the Championship game then we should be in business.

Last time the defensive genius sent Darren Sharper on blitz packages through the A gap unchecked to put hits on Favre boy. This time around it will be someone else hounding the NFL great. If we can once again get to the man and make him release before he's set then we stand a chance... just all shout for Hargrove to fall on that ball should you see him picking it up and running on a fumble recovery... bigman you ain't no full back but we love you just the same.

AP if you can continue turning that ball over to our D we sure would appreciate it.

On the other side of the ball Drew Brees is back to command the league like only his sheer perfectionist streak can. I'm hoping we can jump out to an early start to pile on the pressure for the road team. Let's be hoping for the same noise intensity as last time to really put the cat amongst the pigeons.

A good start to the season sure will settle nerves and give the whole league something to think about so let's pray for an all round great team display and a healthy return for number 9 in whom we all trust.