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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8 Comments

  1. i agree on all the points you’ve made.. but, come on M.S. .. that was an easy kick for him. and really, if we had gone for it than everyone would have died had we fumbled or an interception had accrued.

    ** i see we play your *other* team on Halloween night in the dome!
    that’s going to be a great game!!

    geaux saints!

  2. M Styborski

    Meh. Prolly. I still say you don’t kick until you have to though. 20/20 hindsight is a powerful thing, ya know? Heh heh.

    Oh, you mean the UNDEFEATED Steelers? :D We thought we’d get tickets but it looks like the price has increased 1000% since we won the SB. Scalping bitches!

  3. I blame the black pants.

    My pal Edie blames the loss on the fact that I wasn’t at her house watching the game last week. It might be that, too.

  4. I’m not the football guru that you are, Stybie, so correct me if I’m wrong here….

    It seems to me that Hartley wouldn’t have had to make that 1st down kick in overtime if someone hadn’t throw two interceptions that day; one of which was an underhanded toss directly to an opponent made whilst falling down.

    Perhaps a sack would’ve been better then a conversion.

    But what do I know?
    I’m so stupid I would have run the ball for three downs before that ill fated kick. Whatta maroon….

  5. M Styborski

    Absolutely. I had started a paragraph on how the offense keeps putting Hartley in this position, adding to the pressure, but it got away from me. I mean really, really, away. You are not alone in your assessment, by far!

    Part of the problem is the loss/addition of free agents changing the composition of the team, but look at Pittsburgh: (Yeah, it’s my other team, but an excellent example.) 3-0 and they didn’t have a passing TD until the third game when their FOURTH STRING QB started! That is teamwork which for some reason is lacking here now. The Saints haven’t been this disaffected since Joe Horn was banging Willie Roaf’s wife.

  6. L.D. you not a maroon…. no, no, no.
    you’ve come a long way over the years with this crazy sport.
    not that you had much of a say so, mind you. ;-)

    xo

    M.S. if you and your honey want to go to the game on Halloween night, i can get tickets for you both.

  7. Thanx, Termite.
    I still believe they can hear me yelling at the screen, though.
    I just do.

  8. M Styborski

    hamana hamana hamana hamana… e-mail me!

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