History: The Slump Edition

Sep 29, 2010 by

Okay, okay, one loss doesn’t really constitute a slump, but perfomance-wise, the Saints are nowhere near their Championship form of a year ago, and honestly, they’re looking more like Jim Mora’s heartbreaker squads of decades past. A sputtering offense that can’t find the end zone resulting in a defense that starts strong but exhausts itself from overwork by the fourth quarter.

Head Coach Sean Payton is still making head scratching decisions but this year they fall into the ‘bizarre’ category instead of ‘genius’. Onside kick to start the second half of the Super Bowl? Genius. Wasting our time outs at the end of the third quarter last week? And this week, kicking a field goal on first down in overtime when we’re on the Atlanta 11-yard line? Bizarre. Truly bizarre.

I understand some of Payton’s reasoning. Both Drew Brees and Pierre Thomas suffered minor injuries during the game and why would you take a chance on further injury, but criminy! Eleven freaking yards!! We didn’t win the Super Bowl by taking the safe road. Live and learn, I guess.

I was flabbergasted when Payton sent Hartley onto the field on first down, and I’m guessing Hartley was even more so. Kickers have a way of psyching up and part of that is watching three downs go by before you have to do your job. It might not seem like much, but believe me, it’s important. Yes, it was a chip shot, an extra-point, but if you ship the kicker in too soon, his head is not going to be in the right place. Sheesh!

Anyway, here’s the History:

I missed a move last week as Reggie Bush climbed into a three-way, sixth place tie with Marques Colston and Tony Galbraith for career TDs with 33 each. With Bush out for the next few weeks, Colston will have the temporary advantage chasing Danny Abramowicz’s fifth place mark of 37.

Look for Drew Brees to knock another Aaron Brooks mark down with his first completion this week. (Assuming that it’s three yards or more!) Brees (19,154) is two yards shy of Brook’s (19,156) second place career passing yardage spot. He still has 2580 yards to go to catch Archie Manning. He’s averaging 285.3 ypg through three games this year, so this record should be his by season’s end.

Garrett Hartley, despite going 1/2 on FGs last week is still the most accurate kicker of the Saints top ten scoring kickers. His career 22/26 equals 83.87% which slightly edges Carney (82.74%), Brien (82.55%) and Andersen (77.63%). Career FGs made, he’s now 11 away from Rich Szaro’s (37) sixth place spot.

And speaking of Carney, he’s back in black and gold though the exact nature of his return is still questionable. WDSU reported today that Carney is only here to coach and help Hartley straighten out his kicking game, but ABC26 reports that WR Adrian Arrington was released in order to add Carney to the team. Why do you need a roster spot for someone who is supposedly just here to coach? And as for Carney giving coaching advice for wide kicks, wouldn’t it be better to find someone who wasn’t released for the exact same problem?

Clearly Payton is giving Hartley the message that if we’re going to lose because of missed kicks, we can do it with either one of you. It’s one of those motivational coaching moves that I truly despise because it adds more pressure to a guy that really has enough pressure already. Payton would be better off working on the offense which is far more out of sync than Hartley.

Next up: the Carolina Panthers in the Dome at noon, Sunday, and let me tell you this really brings back memories of the Mora era! A winless division rival coming into our house. It’s one of those games that looks over before it begins, but we all know what can happen… It’s time to stand up and make some noise, boys, and show the world who you really are!

-M Styborski

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