2 And 5

Oct 29, 2012 by

Just when you thought nothing in the world could make Aaron Kromer’s double-interim babysitting tenure look good, along comes Joe Vitt. In just one short week Vitt managed to dissemble every positive step forward the Saints had made in the last six games.

While the Saints defense hadn’t managed to stop the little things like running and passing plays, they had improved to the point where they were stopping opponents from scoring at the drop of a hat. Whatever wisdom Vitt imparted to Steve Spagnuolo in the last seven days certainly didn’t work.

In Vitt’s post-game press conference, he actually uttered the following words, “We said last week that we were not gonna fool Peyton with a lot of different coverage disguises…”. And he was wrong, last week and post-game. That is exactly how you beat Peyton Manning. It’s exactly what the Saints did to him in the second half of Superbowl 44. Christ, Joe, you were there!

As for the offense, Vitt essentially cut it in half. The offensive line was virtually invisible, allowing the Broncos D free reign behind the line of scrimmage. And while they only managed one sack on Brees and a separate fumble, their relentless assault created hurried, panicked passes that were poorly timed and off the mark. Brees was a dismal 22/42 for just 213 yards, 2 TD’s and an interception; his worst performance this season.

The rushing attack provided a paltry 17 attempts for 51 yards; second and third worst, respectively. It’s baffling how the offensive line can leave gaping holes for opponents to get to Drew but can’t create the tiniest crack for a runner to slip through.

And while we’re on the subject of runners, where the hell are Chris Ivory, Jed Collins and Travaris Cadet? All three were listed as active and Collins and Cadet apparently took the field at some point, (according to the NFL Gamebook,) though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the stats. Or for that matter by watching the game. I understand that you want to bring in substitutes to make the other team wonder if they’ll get the ball, but if you continuously bring them in and ignore them, well, the other team is going to notice and ignore them too!

Joique Bell is actually doing well this season. Unfortunately we cut him and kept Mark Ingram, and while their rushing stats are similar, Bell has 227 receiving yards compared to Ingram’s negative 1. But Bell is Detroit’s third option and third down back. Had we kept Bell and traded Ingram, we might have had enough cap space to hold onto either Tracy Porter or Carl Nicks. Or possibly both. We’d have, at worst, the same running game and a stronger, closer knit defense. Hindsight, huh?

Up Next:
A pissed off 3-4 Philadelphia Eagle team that might possibly be in worse shape than the Saints, organizationally speaking. Philly recently fired DC Juan Castillo and Michael Vick’sstarting QB job may actually be up in the air for Nick Foles to grab. (Note to Tom Benson: Juan Castillo is available as a Defensive Coordinator. He’s coached offense for the last 23 years unless you count his 6-game stint in Philly, so he’s probably just as qualified as Spags and certainly a hell of a lot cheaper. Just sayin’…)

Philly leads the series 15-10 but since Sean Payton took over the Saints are 2-1 including a 48-22 blowout in 2009. Of course, Sean’s not here so… it’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen. Rest assured though that everyone will be watching as it’s another Prime Time showdown, this time on Monday Night. (So we’ll have an extra day to prepare…) I still have Faith, but I’m sad to say that most of it is only the Faith that we couldn’t possibly play any worse than we did against the Broncos. Could we…?

The Numbers:
Drew Brees:
A statistical category unto himself, Brees holds all the Saints passing records so the only thing left to track is his rise through the NFL’s Top Ten quarterbacks.

Brees (3801) passed Vinnie Testaverde (3787) for 7th place on the NFL’s all-time passing completion list. He is now just 39 completions away from Drew Bledsoe’s (3839) 5th place mark.

Drew Brees (43052) also passed Dan Fouts (43040) for 9th place on the NFL’s all-time passing yardage list and is now 1559 yards behind Drew Bledsoe’s 8th place spot which he should have by season’s end.

And of course, with two TD’s in a dismal effort against the Denver Broncos, Brees (301) tied and then took 6th place from John Elway on the NFL’s all-time passing TD list. Brees and Tom Brady (316) are now chasing Fran Tarkenton’s (342) 4th place spot, but Brady has a 15 TD lead on Brees and is clearly not showing any sign of slowing down.

Games Played:
Will Smith (130) tied Joe Federspiel for 19th place on the Saints all-time games played list. His next game played will tie him in 18th place with Willie Roaf (131).

Pierre Thomas (181) needs two catches to pass Wes Chandler (182) for 15th place on the Saints all-time list. Jimmy Graham (160) needs three to take 19th pace from Michael Haynes (162).

Receiving Yards:
Lance Moore (3216) needs nine yards to step into Henry Childs (3224) 8th place spot.

Receiving TD’s:
Pierre Thomas (7-tied for 35th) and Darren Sproles (11-tied for 25th) each need just one receiving TD to move to the next level. Jimmy Graham (20-12th) and Devery Henderson (26-8th) each need two TD’s to advance.

Garrett Hartley (49) remains in 5th place, three FG’s behind Charlie Durkee (52) on the Saints all-time FG list.

-M Styborski

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