When: Sun. 10/10 - 4:05 pm
10/10 - 4:05 pm - SIRIUS Ch 127
10/10 - 4:05 pm
ET (DirecTV Sunday Ticket Channel 713)
Meet the Saints
vs. Saints Matchups
The Saints beat the Vikings and the Niners,
lost to the Falcones and pulled out a 16 - 14 squeaker vs.
the Panteras to give them a 3 & 1 record. The Cardinals were
flat-out embarrassed by the Chargers and wind up tied for first in
a weak NFC West Division at 2 & 2. (Frankly, based on their
caliber of play, the Cards could just as easily be 0 & 4).
The Cards figure to have blown all or most of their home-field
advantage. Normally, a team should look forward to coming off a
road trip to play before hometown fans. Unfortunately, the Cards
return to Glendale with their tails between their legs, facing a
fan-base that, at best, figures to be "concerned" &, at worst,
Different games have different flavours of spin leading up to
them. Some games are "must games." Some determine playoff
eligibility or survival. Some are considered "trap games." Some
define "who a team is." This is one of those rare "Let's see how
the kid does" games. Max Hall has gotten the starting nod for this
Sunday. (Let's see how he does).
Saints won a pitchers dual. They appeared to
have had the game under control only to be repeatedly undone by
turnovers & dropped passes. (When you go through the play-by-play
log, you see the same relentless short-pass offense that chewed up
NFL teams (including the Cardinals a year ago). It's just that the
Saints kept failing to put it across the goal line. Other than
uncharacteristically giving up a couple of big plays (One when
Malcom Jenkins let the receiver get behind him and the other
when the run defense failed to keep D'Angelo Williams bottled up &
allowed him to cut back en route to a 39 yard TD) the NO
continued its stout play. Notable big defensive plays: Usama
Youn'g stuff of Williams for a 4-yard loss and Jenkins' sack
of A 16-play 4Q scoring drive with Brees patiently pecking
away was pretty impressive:
There was no scoring in the 1Q. On their
first offensive series, the Saints made it all the way to the
Panther 12 in 14 plays, but Moore's fumble at the one-yard
line resulted in a turnover and touchback. They held Carolina
to 3 & out and (aided by 2 defensive penalties) made it to the
Panther 4 in seven plays as the quarter ended.
First Quarter Score: New Orleans 0 - Carolina 0.
On the eighth play of the series, Brees hit
Moore for a 4-yard TD.
New Orleans 7 - Carolina 0.
On the 5th play of the next series, Jimmy
Clausen hitJonathon Stewart for a 55 yard score.
New Orleans 7 - Carolina 7.
Brees moved his team to the Carolina 36 in
6 plays, but C Ivory (after rambling 13 yards around RE
fumbled. Carolina ball. Panthers could gain much traction and
eventually punted. Starting on his own 23, Brees led his team
on a 13-play drive capped by a 32-yard Carney FG with 1:17
left on the clock. New Orleans 10 - Carolina 7.
Panthers went 3 & out. Saints - with 0:42
to play with - made it to the Carolina 46 with 0:18 left
before Brees was sacked and turned over the ball.
Halftime Score: New Orleans 10 - Carolina 7.
Saints received and punted 7 plays later.
Panthers took over on their own 20 and opened up a lead when D
Williams circled LE for a 39-yard touchdown.
Carolina 14 - New Orleans 10.
The Saints were unable to move the ball,
but got it back on a contested muffed punt Starting on
the Pantera 29, they managed to get inside the Carolina 10
before settling on a 32 yard Carney FG.
Carolina 14 - New Orleans 13.
The two teams exchanged 3 & outs. Carolina
managed to pick up a 1st down on the following series to end
the quarter. Third Quarter Score: Carolina 14 -
New Orleans 13.
Carolina ran out of steam and punted 4
plays later. Starting from their own 7-yard line, the Saints
reeled off 16 (yup 16!) plays to move into FG position at the
Panther 7. (Longest play of the drive was a 16-yard
Brees-Thomas pass). Carney booted home another one from 25
yards.. New Orleans 16 - Carolina 14
Just 3:55 left on the clock. Four
consecutive Carolina running plays put them
on their own 46 yard line at the 2:00 break. They got to the
NO 36 at 1:35 with no time outs, but a 4-yard loss on a run by
D Williams and a minus-4 yard sack of Clausen brought the
clock to 0:08 when he threw his final pass of the contest
(which fell incomplete). Final Score: Orleans
16 - Carolina 14
Turnovers - Three fumbles/2 for losses
(but both were at or near the enemy goal line). No picks,
Only 4 penalties.
121 yards rushing (They gave up 118 to a
rush-oriented Carolina team).
They were 8 for 14 in 3rd down
They passed 50 times (vs. 29 running
NO ballcarriers were tackled 5 times for
Brees was sacked twice. (NO pass rushers
racked up 3 sacks)
No picks by either team.
Ivory and Betts were the two main NO
ballcarriers (Ivory gained 67 yards on 12 carries. Betts
gained 47 yds on 13 attempts).
Six NO receivers had at least 4 catches.
Henderson led the team with 6 catches out of 9 targeted.
Shockey (another freakin' TE!!!) was second with 6 for 8.
Thomas and Moore had 5 catches apiece, followed by Betts (4)
and Colston (4)
As a punter, Morstead had a big gross
yardage figure (53.3) but his net yardage was down to
near-average at 40.3.
Meet the Saints
Super Bowl champs. Start with that. But, as
NO Times Picayune beat-writer, Jeff Duncan puts it, he can't quite
put his finger on the problem, but the Saints thus far have not
played with the same kind of edge that won them the Super Bowl
last season. While fans can receive some solace from the fact
that, despite turnovers and less than perfect play, the Saints are
still 3 & 1. (What seems to bother Duncan is the way the Saints
have won those games - not in the dominating fashion
characteristic of 2009-2010 but relying on the field goal to pull
out close games).
09 Brees, Drew
QB 6-0 209 31 10 Purdue
QB 6-0 225 23 2 Missouri
For those of you who question Max Hall's size, check Check Brees'
height (6 freakin' foot-zero)! Yet we're talking about a QB who
completes nearly 75% of his passes and has a QB rating north of
100. He is the master of the short pass (aka "death by a thousand
cuts") spreading the ball around to a (dare we say) plethora of
receivers (including his RB's and TE's). He is relentless and
unstoppable, though turnovers have helped keep NO's scoring down
this season. Daniels has looked sharp in a backup role.
RB 6-0 203 25 5 Southern California
RB 5-11 215 25 4 Illinois
RB 6-0 222 22 R Tiffin
RB 5-10 232 26 4 Florida
RB 5-11 224 31 9 Iowa
FB 6-0 250 31 10 Auburn
It's unclear who is or isn't injured. Bush is listed atop the
depth chart, but Ivory and Betts saw most of the action last
Sunday. When healthy, this is an underrated group of backs, with
Bush a scatback with surprising pop between the tackles leading
the way. Evans is a seasoned 10-year lead-blocking veteran.
WR 6-4 225 27 5 Hofstra
WR 5-9 190 27 5 Toledo
xx Adrian Arrington
WR 5-11 200 28 7 Louisiana State
WR 6-2 210 26 4 Tennessee
WR 6-0 189 27 5 Indiana
Colston leadsa deep group
of receivers in numbers of catches, but Moore is their home run
guy. Arrington is listed on the depth chart, but not the roster.
88 Shockey, Jeremy
TE 6-5 251 30 9 Miami (Fla.)
TE 6-3 248 27 5 Texas
TE 6-6 260 23 R Miami (Fla.)
TE 6-2 255 27 4 Central Michigan
Shockey is this week's Zach Miller or Antonio Gates if you know
what I'm sayin'. He will be next in a series of "challenges" for
Adrian Wilson. Thomas is also a receiving threat. Humphrey
is listed on the roster, but not the NO depth chart.
LT 6-5 315 26 4 Towson
T 6-5 297 23 R Southern California
LG 6-5 343 25 3
Tennant, Matt C/G 6-4 300 23 R
Goodwin, Jonathan C 6-3 318 31 9
Evans, JahriR G 6-4 318 27 5
T 6-5 315 31 8 Georgia
T 6-7 320 27 5 Northwestern
Few if any household names here, but this unit has given up just 7
sacks despite throwing the ball 3/4 of the time. (This may have
more to do with Brees' quick release and decision-making than pure
pass pro talent; but whatever it is - it works, Although the
Saints thus far haven't stressed the run, the NO O-line has been
adept at opening holes for Bush, Pierre Paul and the other RB's.
We're kind of surprised that Stinchcomb has settled in at RT. We
had always considered him more of a finessy pass protector (i.e. a
LT) than a meat-grinder over on the right side.
LDE 6-3 260 31 9
Wilkerson, Jimmy DL 6-2 270 29 8
Galette, Junior DE 6-2 258 22 R
Ellis, Sedrick DT 6-1 307 25 3
Ayodele, Remi NT 6-2 318 27 4
Hargrove, Anthony DL 6-3 272 27
6 Georgia Tech
Smith, Will DE 6-3 282 29 7 Ohio
Charleston, Jeff DE 6-4 265 27 4
Saints employ a 4-man front with an UT and NT in the middle. NO
has given up an average of more than 100 yards per game on the
ground during its first 5 games. Smith and Brown are capable pass
rushers off the edge. Ayodele is solid in the middle. Ellis leads
the defense with 3 sacks. .
OLB 6-2 245 30 8 Nebraska
LB 6-2 233 33 11 Illinois
MLB 6-1 230 28 7 Miami (Fla.)
LB 6-3 249 25 4 Tennessee
LB 6-0 226 25 3 Boston College
LB 6-0 232 24 2 Wake Forest
LB 6-3 238 26 4 Clemson
Vilma is the team defensive leader operating
from the Mike position. Shanle leads the defense in tackles and
appears to fit the role of mop-up guy who swoops in to make the
LCB 5-11 180 28 7
Robinson, Patrick LCB 5-11 191 23
R Florida State
RCB 5-11 186 24 3
Gay, Randall CB 5-11 190 28 7
SS 6-1 200 27 5 Alabama
31 Prioleau, Pierson
S 5-11 188 33 12 Virginia Tech
S 6-1 215 27 4 Georgia Tech
FS/CB 6-0 204 22 2
S 6-0 200 25 4 Kent State
We're thinking that there are two
possible reasons why opposing offenses run the ball twice as much
as does NO: (1) to shorten the game and keep the ball out of
Brees' hands or (2) because of the sharks that inhabit the NO deep
secondary. This unit is talented and deep. Porter may be out for a
couple of weeks, but Jenkins (listed on the depth chart as a FS)
is listed on the roster as a CB. Young stuffed a run at a key
point in the win over Carolina. Harper and Porter have 2 of NO's
Morstead, Thomas P 6-4 225 24 2
Hartley, Garrett K 5-8 196 24 3
Carney, John K 5-11 185 46 22
Kyle, Jason LS 6-3 242 38 16
PR/RB 6-0 203 25 5 Southern California
WR 5-9 190 27 5 Toledo
Roby, Courtney KR/WR 6-0 189 27 5 Indiana
We're not sure about the status of NO's kickers. Carney isn't
listed on the depth chart but does show up on the roster. Bush and
Roby are both dangerous in the return game, though none has taken
it to the house thus far this season. Longest KO return was for 39
yards. Longest NO punt return was for 72 (by Moore).
Pete Carmichael, Jr.
Special Teams Coordinator
Peyton is perennial coach of the year
material.Williams is credited for putting teeth and substance into
the NO defense. Just guessing, but the true OC figures to be
Peyton, with Carmichael implementing Sean's strategies.
78 first downs converted (vs. 66 for
293 rushing yards (vs. 553 for opponents)
1083 passing yards (vs. 785 for opponents)
160 passing attempts (vs. 110 for
10 FG attempts (vs. 3 for opponents)
Brees is completing 73.8% of his passes
for 7 TD's and 2 picks for a 102.4 QB Rating.
Pierre Thomas gained 147 yards on 46
carries but didn't play Sunday (I'm not sure what his injury
status is). Chris Ivory (80 total yards) and Ladell Betts (47)
did most of the running vs. Carolina.
Their TE (Schockey) is the leading
receiver (20 catches for 196 yards) followed by a WR (Colston)
with 18 catches and a RB (Pierre-Paul) with 17. Lance Moore
leads the team with 209 yards from 14 catches). He leads
receivers with 3 TD's.Devery Henderson and David Thomas have
13 grabs each.
No NO punt or KO returns have gone for
TD's so far. Longest KO return was for 39 yards. Longest punt
return was for 72 (by Lance Moore).. Longest opposing
punt return was for 16 yards, Longest opposing KO return was
Defensively, four NO players (Vilma,
Greer, Jenkins, Shanle) have more than 20 tackles, with Shanle
the team leader with 24 (10 of which were assists).
NO has 6 sacks to its credit (vs. 7 for
its opponents). Leading sacker is Sedrick Ellis with 3.
Saints have 3 interceptions; Brees has
only been picked off two times. (NO picks were by Harper,
Porter and Vilma).
QB - 03 Anderson, 06 Hall, 19 Skelton,
Anderson floundered vs. SD and
was replaced by Hall prior to halftime. Hall gets the nod Sunday. Hall is greener
than grass (but how could you be any more erratic and
turnover-prone than Anderson - don't answer that!) The CW would
place Hall in more of a game-manager, 3-step-drop/run the ball
more/control the clock mode than the more wide-open offense with
Anderson in there; but you never know.
34 Hightower, 31 Wright, 36 Stephens-Howling (KR/PR),
It's hard to get a bead on Cardinal runners
since they get used so seldom. All we can you is that (a)
Hightower is good for at least decent TD run per game (at
least when it isn't called back). Beanie looked pretty good last
week though limited to 5 carries. Stephens-Howling has surprising
strength inside the tackles for a little guy. Wright is solid in
all aspects of the game (including running).
FB - 45 Mau'ia
He's the guy who cost Hightower the TD last
Sunday, but he does have some talent as a lead blocker (described
by Wolfley as a "dumpster with teeth."
Roberts, 18 Komar, 80
WR -11 Fitzgerald
(Probable), 14 S Williams,
Fitz seems most of the way back from his
knee injury, but had to fly solo (or close to it) last week with Breaston
and Doucet out due to inury. This presented the opposing defense
with a really attractive "dilemma": Who to double (or triple
cover): Fitz? Or Komar, Williams, Roberts or Onrea Jones? Result -
putrid passing production
TE - 89 Patrick,
Patrick is slowly emerging as a
go-to TE target but didn't get thrown to much last week - maybe he
could have taken some pressure off DA or Hall. Spach is the best blocker of the
three (although he can be expected to have at least one
frustrating penalty called on him each game). Dray is promising
but still a rook.
LT- 75 L Brown,
Faneca, 70 Hadnot
Claxton, (70 Hadnot)
Underachievers across the
board. We hope Derrick Anderson's rib doctor kicks back some of
his profits to the bumbling Cardinal front 5. While Faneca is a
definite asset in the run game, he's living on his rep in pass
pro. Brown, Sendlein, Lutui and Keith don't give Anderson or Hall
enough time to duck let alone pick out an open receiver. (The
Cardinal sacks-permitted total was, we believe somewhere in the
neighborhood of 9.
DE - 93
Campbell, 79 Iwebema
NT - 97 B Robinson, 98 Watson,
92 D Williams
DT - 90 Dockett, 78 Branch
These guys are (a) inconsistent and (b) get rattled easily when
things aren't going right. Result - they're inclined to get caught
out of position, bite on fakes and overrrun plays. And (are you
listening D-Dock?) they jump offsides too often.
OLB1 - 55 Porter
58 D Washington,
Our inside backers (Lenon and DWash) had
atypical "bad hair days last Sunday (So did Porter and Haggans but
their lack of production was unfortunately more typical. The
entire unit tended to run themselves out of plays, fill the wrong
gaps and get lost in space covering passes.
SS- 24 Wilson,
FS- 25 Rhodes,
Last Sunday you could make the case that our best DB was Toler.
DRC has been a less reliable tackler and has given up more big
plays than he's made. A-Dub contines to be undressed by opposing
TE's (i.e. Zach Miller and Antonio Gates) - and this week draws
(yippee!) Jeremy Schockey (a very scary thought indeed). Rhodes
will occasionally fall victim but has been making more big plays
than he's given up. His fumble recovery and TD run last week was
arguably the only Cardinal highlight of the afternoon.
P- 05 B
H - 05 B Graham
12 Roberts, 18
Komar, 15 Breaston,
Feely and Graham are fine.
So is LSH (who has Sproles-style home run potential returning
KO's). Our punt return game has continually been an adventure, but
Roberts did have one good one near the end of last week's fiasco
vs. the Chargers.
vs. Saints Matchups
DNP: Doucet (groin), Breaston (knee), Iwebema (knee),
Ware (ankle) . LP:
Lenon (pelvis) Probable: TBA
DNP: Bush (fibula),Pierre-Thomas (ankle), W Smith
(groin), T Porter (knee) . LP:
Harper (hammy), Prilolieau (chest), Schockey (knee) . Probable: TBA .
New Orleans Passing Attack
vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Cardinal pass defenders have been undressed when they have to
cover quality TE's in addition to other receiving options. Adrian
Wilson bolo'd against Zach Miller and Antonio Gates. This week he
draws Jeremy Schockey (albeit a gimpy version). The NO offensive attack run by Brees is
relentless - consistently moving down the field like a giant
centipede. Brees spreads the ball around to several receivers, his
RB's and his TE's. He makes decisions and gets rid of the ball
quickly which, in turn keeps him generally upright (he's been
sacked a reasonable 7 times in 5 games). Going into the season, a
Cardinal defensive strength appeared to be its mix & match
versatility, manouverability & aggressiveness that would enable
them to gang up on an opposing weakness. The mutli-threat attack
of the Saints pretty much negates this, because our defenders will
be too preoccupied with various threats to scheme against one. The
Cardinal secondary will have its hands full and its pass rushers
figure to be one or two steps late getting to Brees before he gets
rid of the ball.
New Orleans Running Attack vs.
Cardinal Run Defense
The Saints don't run a lot, but
when they do, they can gash you. They lack the big pounding
presence of a Jackson, Gore or Snelling but have guys who can take
it to the house if you don't maintain gap and contain-discipline.
Reggie Bush and Pierre-Thomas did not practice Wed. and didn't
play last week. Saints relied on Ivory and Betts). Card run defenders must be careful not to abandon their
assignments and run themselves out of plays. Our LB's and DB's
must break down properly in order to bottle up any breakaway
threats (i.e. no lunging and whiffing by DRC or Joey P one-on-one
in the open field).
Cardinal Passing Attack
vs. New Orleans
Hall gets the starting nod. We imagine he'll be given a more Brees-like game plan -
i.e. lots of short, horizontal, move-the-chains, manage-the-game
type safe stuff relying on his quick release/decision-making along
with a more balanced run/pass mix than we've seen to date.
Cardinal pass blockers will have to do a better job containing the
Saint inside pass rush (especially by Ellis) and - if it's Hall in
there - an assortment of blitz packages. A bunch of NO defensive
backs (Prioleau, Harper, Porter) are banged up.
Key to the success of our passing attack is to
keep it simple and minimize the risk of turnovers (both picks and
Cardinal Running Attack
vs. New Orleans
When you review the NO stats (553
rushing yards allowed), you come to the logical conclusion that
the Saints can be run against. Beanie should be healthy. THT
should be healthy. When we brought in Hall, we demonstrated the
willingness to look for answers outside our normal offensive box.
So go it one better and run the ball and run it some more - even
if the yardage is paltry at first. At the very least (assuming
that Hall gets the nod), the threat of the run figures to afford
the passer some degree of sack-security and could be instrumental
in setting up the pass & establishing some rhythm. In addition,
our O-line might enjoy a nice day of ramming the ball down the
other team's throat instead of becoming exhausted filling the role
of "dancing bears."
Excuse me for stating the obvious, but, each week, it seems as
though at least 2 or three games are influenced in a big way by
special teams - either a long return or a blocked punt or FG. The
Cards have kick blockers galore (C Campbell, DRC, A-Dub and
others) and they have a return guy with home run potential in LSH.
As the Chargers discovered in Seattle a couple of weeks ago, big
special teams plays can be the Great Equalizer. One way to bring
the Saints back to earth could be via special teams. Of course,
this can work both ways - a lackadaisical approach to kick
coverage by the Cardinal coverage unit could result in happy times
for Reggie Bush, so we'd better be careful.
3 & 2 going into Bye Week sounds a lot better than 2 & 3. But I'm
afraid scary times lie ahead for the Cardinals; happy days for the
Saints. But more often than you'd think, strange things have been
known to upset the fiercest of forecasts in the NFL. One thing's
for sure, however: Pleasant surprises cannot occur unless the team
on the good end of a surprise plays hard and keeps its cool for
the entire game. "Opportunities will pass you by unless you remain
ready and poised to pounce on them." (Fingers crossed).