15 October 2006

Saints Grades at the Bye Week


QUARTERBACK:
Drew Brees is completing 2/3 of his passes. He has nearly twice as many touchdowns as interceptions. His QB rating is in the 90s. He is the leader of this team. The team respects and follows him, and it believes it can win with him at quarterback. His lack of a strong arm hasn't hurt the team's ability to make big plays. GRADE: A-

RUNNING BACK:
Not great, but pretty good. Deuce McAllister is on the way to another 1,000 yard season, but Reggie Bush is at or under 3 yards per carry. However, Bush is on a pace to catch around 100 passes, and Deuce has made a few big catches too. The fullbacks have been okay but injury-prone. But Brees isn't getting sacked, so somebody must be picking up the blitz when it comes. GRADE: B

WIDE RECEIVER:
The Saints are on a pace to have two receivers over or near 1,000 yards receiving. Marques Colston has been a wonderful replacement for Donte' Stallworth, and Joe Horn finally had a big game against the Eagles. Devery Henderson has made a few big catches and has scored on a reverse. Lance Moore and Jamal Jones haven't made much of a contribution, but they haven't been asked to. GRADE: B

TIGHT END:
This unit hasn't contributed very much. They've made a few big catches here and there. Ernie Conwell has a touchdown. But they're not a real receiving threat. However, it's hard to see unless you look for it, but I'll assume they're helping the running game. GRADE: C-

OFFENSIVE LINE:
This was supposed to be, along with the linebackers, the worst part of the team. But look at the numbers. The running game is averaging around 4 yards a carry. Drew Brees has been sacked 6 times. The offensive line is doing a VERY underrated job, especially since you have an entirely new offensive line (if you consider Jamaal Brown is playing a new position). GRADE: B

OVERALL OFFENSIVE GRADE: B+

DEFENSIVE LINE: The defensive line has accounted for 12 sacks. However, they have disappeared on occasion. The line has also given up some big rushing yards up the middle in recent games. However, they are playing much better than they were last year, and there is only one new guy (Hollis Thomas) making significant contributions. GRADE: B

LINEBACKERS:
Like the offensive line, this unit has exceeded all expectations. Scott Fujita and Scott Shanle lead the team in tackles, and have combined for 5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Mark Simoneau has done a good job too. The backups haven't been asked to make significant contributions. However, Danny Clark and Terence Melton have performed well when asked to perform or play on special teams. I am happy with their performance. GRADE: B+

SECONDARY:
Most people weren't excited about this unit this year. But they have done well. Roman Harper did well before his injury. The other safeties are also playing well and have made some big plays. The cornerbacks have done well. They have given up some big yards and catches when they face star receivers (Donald Driver, Steve Smith, Joey Galloway), but have done a good job against everyone else. The biggest negative on their side is the lack of interceptions and turnovers. In fact, there are no interceptions so far from the cornerbacks. GRADE: B-

OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE: B

KICKER:
John Carney is 13 of 14 on the year. You can't complain about that. His only miss came on a high snap, but it was in a game the team lost by 3. But he had 4 big ones against Cleveland, and he hit the game winner against Philadelphia. GRADE: A

PUNTER:
Steve Weatherford has done a good job as a rookie. He is averaging around 45 yards per punt, and his net average was near 40 going into this week. He is in the top half of punters in most categories, with the possible exception of punts downed inside the 20. GRADE: B

RETURNERS:
Reggie Bush is averaging 11 yards per punt return and has a game-winning touchdown. The kickoff returners all average around 20 yards per return, which is very average for the league. However, keep in mind that there have been no crucial mistakes and turnovers by these units. I do. GRADE: B (C if you remove Bush's punt return)

COVERAGE AND BLOCKING: The Saints were average on kickoff return coverage, if you look at NFL stats, going into the Eagles game. On punt returns, they are a little better, especially if you count the fumble recovery on the punt this week (that resulted in a touchdown). Also remember that the Saints have also blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. That really helped set the tone for the Falcons game. GRADE: A-

OVERALL SPECIAL TEAMS GRADE: A-

COACHING:
Read this post if you want to know what I think about Sean Payton. The thing I like about Sean Payton is that he NEVER puts the offense in a position where they have a chance of screwing up (with the exception of Brees's 2nd interception against the Eagles) . The team also plays hard for the whole game, and never quits. The defense also makes up for a perceived lack of talent at linebacker and defensive back by playing smart and minimizing stupid errors. They're rarely penalized, and they don't make any dumb mental errors. You can tell that they're coached well.

OVERALL COACHING GRADE: A

OVERALL SAINTS GRADE GOING INTO THE BYE WEEK: A-/B+

9 Comments:

At October 16, 2006 11:14 AM, Anonymous ashley said...

The crowd gets an A-, due to the B for the Tampa game, the A+ for the homecoming game, and the A for yesterday's yeomanlike work.

We forced the pigeons to take 3 timeouts because of crowd noise.

That's doing our job.

 
At October 16, 2006 11:44 AM, Blogger Roux said...

They are certainly not like the Saints of old. Coming back after giving up 21 points. Great clock management at the end to leave Philly with no time.

I liked Patton's comments that if we couldn't make a 30 yard field goal, we didn't deserve to win.

Geaux Saints!

 
At October 16, 2006 12:16 PM, Blogger jeffrey said...

I think the linebackers are more like a C. They don't blow assignments but they do miss tackles. Shanle's missed tackle on DeShaun Foster was just awful.

 
At October 16, 2006 12:24 PM, Blogger mominem said...

I liked Peyton's comment about the field goal.

I especially liked that if they missed, they still could have won in overtime, but no one mentioned that.

 
At October 16, 2006 1:58 PM, Blogger Fitch N. DarDar said...

Interesting take on the linebackers. If you watch the replay of the TD pass to Reggie Brown, it looked like Shanle was lost. Maybe my assessment of the linebackers is clouded because I thought they would be an F going into the season, but I'm sticking to it. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think Fujita is the team's defensive MVP so far. He's always making something happen. Even better than Smith and Grant.

 
At October 16, 2006 10:04 PM, Blogger mominem said...

Let me add another comment I haven't seen anywhere.

When the Saints offense stalled for a while Duce was out.

When it picked up he was back in.

Coincidence?

 
At October 18, 2006 2:11 PM, Blogger dillyberto said...

I like roux calling Coach Patton instead of Payton.

I believe Coach is more like the famed general than we would know.

 
At October 18, 2006 3:16 PM, Blogger Fitch N. DarDar said...

I'd like to see the scene from "Payton" the movie where he slaps around Donte' Stallworth after he whines about having to go to practice.

 
At October 18, 2006 8:14 PM, Blogger bayoustjohndavid said...

The offensive line is due an unbelievably good job of pass blocking, but they seem mediocre at run blocking--Deuce is earning his rushing yards, Bush isn't getting rushing yards. But it is an all new line, other than that it's hard to find any real weakess on offense. Hopefully, they'll be able to continue to produce with the thethreat of the deep pass to stretch defenses.

On defense, I won't be convinced until I see them stop an offense that really tries to run, especially between the tackles. I guess that after thirteen years, I'm still shell shocked from that '93 season.

 

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