Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keys to beating New Orleans, and other thoughts.

There have been posts that have addressed the whole Seattle situation.  I don't really want to get into that because my goal is to try and stay professional when I write and I'm pretty sure that I won't if I discuss that.  But other things that have caught my attention throughout the league.

1.  The Texans offense is starting a change in the cycle of offenses.  I know that for so long that every offense was ahead of the defense when it came to the super pass happy shotgun offenses.  But it appears that defenses have caught up with more 3-4, different looks, faking blitzes, and getting better in coverage.  The other thing that this does is when all of the defensive ends are getting faster to try to pass rush.  They also are probably getting smaller and easier to run block.  The clearest example of this was Minnesota beating San Fransisco last week.  They got the lead, fed their running back, and forced Alex Smith to pass.  So I think that all of the big contracts to running back may soon pay off for their teams, except for maybe Chris Johnson, because he's just been awful.

2.  The "elite" team era seems to be over with the fall of the Patriots to 1-2.  Yes, I know that the Packers, Saints, Ravens, & Steelers have all been an automatic check in the elite column the last few years and that everyone automatically assumes that they will go to the playoffs.  But when they all have a combined record of 5-10 after 3 weeks, clearly the NFL is showing us once again how much parody plays a part in football.

3.  The NFL Head Coach might be the most important person on the field.  Sean Payton's absence has hurt the Saints in a serious way.  And for the record, I don't recall anyone having Drew Brees as a an elite quarterback in San Diego, otherwise Miami would have definitely signed him instead of Daunte Culpepper in the Summer of 2006.  Seriously, think about that for a while.  So then you have Payton showing that coaches are probably more underpaid then they should be.  I expect to see coaching salaries on the rise in the NFL over the next 5 years to a different pay scale entirely.

Now to focus on Packers @ Saints

1st Key to Victory:  Feed Benson

Why exactly have the Packers signed free agent running back Cedric Benson if he is going to get a grand total of 2 carries in the first half on Monday Night Football.  I mean, I know that the Packers are not typically a strong running team under McCarthy, but 2 carries is just sad and absurd.  46 carries through 3 games for 144 yards hardly screams starting running back.  And Yes that is 3.1 Yards per carry.  I know that he hasn't been amazing this year.  But Jamal Charles, his Texas alumnus, ran for 233 yards on them just last Sunday, and their defense is giving up a horrible 215 yards per game through 3 games.  This is the worst in the NFL by 60 yards per game.  The Bengals are at 155.  Feed Benson the ball and let him work.

2nd key to Victory:  Knock the ball down

I would love to have some turnovers in this game, but I just want to see our defense knock the ball down a few times to get things underway.  The Saints have already attempted 137 pass attempts through 3 games, with 75 completions for a total of 854 yards.  The Saints have a total of 56 carries for 278 yards this season, and don't seem to care about how many touches Ingram or Sproles gets when handing the ball off.  Watching them play the Chiefs last week, they just kept trying to pass to put the Chiefs away instead of thinking about running at any point.

Final Key to Victory:  Get ahead early

This may seem like a moot point, but teams are getting the early lead, forcing the other team to pass, and then stopping them.  Until this year, top quarterbacks haven't been getting shut down by opposing defenses.  I mean, our undefeated teams are not quarterbacked by Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.  It's Kevin Kolb, Matt Ryan, and Matt Schaub for crying out loud.  None of which have proved their greatness.  I just want us to Feed Cedric and then get some play action in to maybe take a look deep.

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