Being right or ahead of the curve is one thing you want in this job. Sometimes though you wish you were wrong even though you are right.
Last week before the New Orleans Saints played the Jacksonville Jaguars at home, I mentioned the Saints had to do a better job against the run. Well, New Orleans did a terrible job against the Jaguars running game and in the process made Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert look like the second coming of Tom Brady.
New Orleans gave up 170 yards rushing for an average of 5.5 yards per rush. That makes it really easy for a quarterback to pass the ball when they are in second down or third down and short.
Gabbert got extra time to throw because the defense had to respect any run fake. Also, helping Jacksonville was the Saints defensive line did a piss poor job of getting off blockers to make plays.
The Jaguars offensive linemen were stuck like glue to the New Orleans defenders. I rarely saw a defensive lineman not get pushed back into the linebackers or beat a block to cause havoc before the running back got to the second level (linebackers/secondary).
New Orleans didn’t do a terrible job in the secondary only allowing 182 passing yards. Against Arizona Cardinals the Saints defense gave up 189 yards passing and against New England Patriots they gave up 188 yards passing.
In today’s NFL those are not bad passing numbers. I will be more than impressed if the Saints can keep up those passing stats on defense when the regular season starts.
The Saints have given up more rushing yards each game. They gave up 112 yards against the Cardinals, 126 yards against the Patriots and finally 170 yards against the Jaguars on the ground.
This Saturday the Saints play the Houston Texans. So far in this preseason the Texans have rushed for 179 yards against the Carolina Panthers and 119 yards against the San Francisco 49ers.
If teams can run they can set up the pass. New Orleans will have to figure out a better way to defend the rushing attack.
Some more to watch for:
The Saints defensive line struggled against the offensive line of the Jaguars last time out. New Orleans had just one sack against the Jaguars and Gabbert was relativity clean all night.
Heading into this game the linebackers unit is really banged up and the defensive line will have to pick up the slack. New Orleans must get pressure from their defensive line and this unit must be very active in running stopping.
New Orleans offense Over the last few years the Saints offense has been one of the most high powered offenses in the NFL. But the New Orleans offense has struggled to get on track this preseason.
This Saturday is the final dress rehearsal before the regular season begins. It would be great to see the first string offense led by Drew Brees get off to a quick start and look sharp.
Brees has not been able to jump start the offense since coming back from his holdout while he wanted a long term contract. The record setting quarterback should be fine but he is just a little off right now.
Who makes the decisions as head coach?
Aaron Kromer was named the interim of the interim head coach earlier this week. When the Saints face a fourth down, a timeout, or big decision it will be interesting to know if Kromer or current interim coach Joe Vitt has the final say.
Vitt begins a six game suspension starting on Sept 3 and Kromer takes over. Kromer needs to be the man making the decisions over the final two preseason games or he will not be ready for the regular season.